The hotly contested vote for Secretary of Education took place today. The highly controversial Betsy DeVos was finally approved after Vice President Mike Pence had to be brought in for a tiebreaker vote as President of the Senate.
The 48 Senators who caucus with Democrats, which includes Independents, voted in opposition to DeVos’ nomination. However, 50 Republicans voted in favor of her nomination. But, two Republican Senators Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) voted against DeVos.
Previously they had commented to reporters that they felt she was unqualified for the job because she had neither attended public school herself nor sent her own children there.
The Washington Post reported that Assistant Historian Daniel Holt in the Senate Historical Office confirmed this is the first time in the history of our country that a Vice President has had to vote on a cabinet nomination in order to break the tie.
In a last ditch effort to ensure she was not confirmed Senate Democrats attempted to hold the Senate Floor on Monday night to try and persuade another Republican colleague to join them in their opposition. However, it was fruitless. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said the following.
“I ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to follow the courageous example of the senators from Maine and Alaska. We have an obligation as Senators — not as Republicans, not as Democrats, but as Senators — to evaluate these nominees and their fitness for office, because these nominees are going to wield immense power over the lives of Americans for possibly the next four years.”
When the Vice President came in to cast his vote it was swift. He quickly sat down to cast his vote and left the chamber in less than a minute. Clearly he knew what he was going to do all along. There was no question about it. He did not leave any comments about his ultimate decision.
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