Betsy DeVos Confirmed as Education Secretary


After a lackluster hearing in which she seemed to struggle with several basic concepts of federal education policy, she became a central target of Senate Democrats, who jumped on her relative inexperience in public schooling and complex financial ties.

After Democrats staged a last-ditch 24-hour filibuster in an effort to block Betsy DeVos, Vice President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote that got her confirmed as education secretary on Tuesday in a historic 51-50 vote.

"I do not believe [Trump] nominated a qualified candidate", Duckworth said during a speech on the Senate floor.

The Senate's vote on Tuesday-in which two Republicans, Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Markowski of Alaska, crossed the aisle to vote against DeVos-marks the seventh of 22 Trump cabinet officials confirmed so far.

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The Senate historian says it was the first time a vice president had to break a tie on a Cabinet nomination. In the lead-up to Tuesday's vote, constituents jammed senators' phone lines as protesters gathered outside the Capitol.

DeVos was widely ridiculed for her performance during the confirmation hearing, with teachers unions and civil rights activists upset because of her support of charter schools and her conservative religious beliefs.

Republicans who spoke during the Senate debate likened Democratic opposition to DeVos and other cabinet nominees as lingering bitterness over the presidential election results.

No education secretary nominee in history has ever garnered the kind of opposition that DeVos, a billionaire education philanthropist and Republican megadonor, did.

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"If she wants to work with the educators who work hard every single day-in districts as diverse as McDowell County, W.Va., Detroit, and Scarsdale, N.Y. -to provide children the opportunities they deserve, we renew our invitation to have her visit America's public schools and see the strategies that work for kids", Randi Weingarten said in a statement after the vote".

Although two Republicans - U.S. Sens. The newly anointed Education Secretary never attended a public school or sent her children to one.

DeVos is from MI, a wealthy donor who helped champion charter schools and vouchers. "The Senate being equally divided, the vice president votes in the affirmative and the nomination is confirmed", Pence told the deadlocked chamber.

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