WASHINGTON (AP/WCCO) — The Senate has confirmed school choice activist Betsy DeVos as Education secretary, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie.
A Senate historian says it was the first time a vice president had to break a tie on a Cabinet nomination.
Two Republicans joined Democrats Tuesday to vote to derail DeVos’ nomination. Democrats cited her lack of public school experience and financial interests in organizations pushing charter schools. DeVos has said she would divest herself from those organizations.
Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska fear that DeVos’ focus on charter schools will undermine remote public schools in their states.
In an earlier tweet, President Donald Trump wrote “Betsy DeVos is a reformer, and she is going to be a great Education Sec. for our kids!”
Both Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Al Franken voted against confirming DeVos. Following her confirmation, Franken issued the following statement:
“One of the most important jobs in our government is the Secretary of Education, who directly oversees the policies that children, teachers, school administrators, and entire communities depend on. It’s not a job for amateurs who don’t know the first thing about education. I voted against the nomination of Betsy DeVos, a billionaire Republican donor, because she is the most incompetent cabinet-level nominee I have ever seen. Last night, I urged my Republican colleagues to oppose her nomination, because if we cannot set party loyalty aside long enough to perform the essential duty of vetting the President’s nominees, then I don’t know what we are even doing here. Betsy DeVos has demonstrated that she is fundamentally unqualified to lead the Education Department, and it’s a shame that Republicans voted to confirm one of their major donors instead of looking out for our children.”
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