Washington, Feb 7 (EFE).- The US Senate on Tuesday confirmed multimillionaire Betsy DeVos as President Donald Trump’s education secretary, although to do so Vice President Mike Pence had to cast a tiebreaking vote.
This is the first time in history that a vice president has had to step in – as set forth in the Constitution – to break a 50-50 tie among senators regarding confirmation of a cabinet nominee.
Two Republican senators voted against DeVos, along with 48 Democratic senators, who held the Senate floor for 24 hours before the vote in a marathon debate session in opposition to DeVos, a last-ditch attempt to derail her nomination.
Despite the Democrats’ efforts to sway at least one more Republican lawmaker to join them, however, Pence’s vote made the final result 51-50 in favor of DeVos, who has been a significant GOP donor.
Democrats has questioned DeVos’s commitment to public education and denounced her conflicts of interest.
Most of the Republican lawmakers have been defending DeVos as an daring reformer ready to reduce the influence of the federal government in education and raise educational quality in the interest of expanding opportunities for disadvantaged children.
But Democrats have categorically opposed her, arguing that she has no political or government experience and is not qualified for the post.
In addition, her stances on undermining public education, which provides schooling for the vast majority of the nation’s young people, and her inability to convincingly and solidly answer questions they posed to her regarding her possible conflicts of interest concerning her investments made Democrats very leery of letting her confirmation proceed without a fight.
In recent days, both Democrat and Republican legislators have received thousands of calls and messages from their constituents asking them to oppose DeVos’s nomination but ultimately those efforts by the public proved futile.