Vice President Mike Pence Casts Historic Tie Breaking Vote to Confirm Betsy Devos as Education Secretary

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WASHINTON D.C. — Vice President Mike Pence cast a historic tie-breaking vote Tuesday to confirm Betsy DeVos as the next education secretary after the Senate was evenly divided over the controversial pick.

The 51-50 vote ends Trump’s toughest confirmation battle yet. Senate Democrats debated through the night and into Tuesday morning in a last-ditch attempt to derail DeVos, buoyed by support from Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine.

Throughout the fight, Democrats argued they needed “Just one more!” to lure away another Republican vote. But Senate Republican leaders succeeded in delivering a victory to Trump in a confirmation fight that very few expected to become as tough as it did.

DeVos’ poor performance in her confirmation hearing — punctuated by her suggestion that a school in Wyoming might want to have guns on premises to protect against grizzly bears — contributed to roaring anger among public school supporters and teachers unions. Even before her hearing, critics pointed to DeVos’s lack of experience with public schools and her bankrolling of efforts like school vouchers that could take money from public institutions.

Rep. Chris Murphy told CNN earlier Tuesday that DeVos seemed to have no knowledge of the federal law that protects students with disabilities.

“You put those two things together, lack of compassion for what’s happened to places like Sandy Hook and an inability to just understand the basic law around vulnerable students and it was clear at the end of that hearing that this was someone who shouldn’t be the secretary of education,” the Connecticut Democrat said.

Trump tweeted his support for his nominee Tuesday: “Senate Dems protest to keep the failed status quo. Betsy DeVos is a reformer, and she is going to be a great Education Sec. for our kids!”

Senate Democrats led on cheers Monday evening by protesters at the Capitol (and around the internet) of “Just one more!” — a nod to the fact they only need to win over another Republican senator to spike DeVos’ nomination.

“We may, in fact, have an additional Republican colleague voting ‘no,’ which would stop her tomorrow,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow told CNN’s Erin Burnett “OutFront” Monday.

DeVos’ Senate vote comes after a dramatic 24 hours of protest from Democrats inside and outside the Capitol that lasted through the night, into Tuesday morning, with Democratic senators taking shifts in the Senate arguing against DeVos.

Murphy said it’s unlikely that the Democrats are going to get the 51st vote, but are going to try until the last minute.

“I think Republicans have been very reluctant to break with Donald Trump in these first few weeks,” he said. “They’re not willing to challenge him on nominees that I think even they know in their heart of hearts aren’t qualified.”

“I think it’s because they’re trying to co-opt him to get their economic agenda done,” Murphy added.

The delay tactics have succeeded in stalling many of Trump’s most important Cabinet picks — but Senate Republican leaders promised Monday to get votes for four nominees this week: DeVos, Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price, Treasury pick Steven Mnuchin and attorney general nominee, Sen. Jeff Sessions.

Meanwhile, with each passing day, more questions have been raised about Trump’s Cabinet picks. Labor Department nominee Andrew Puzder admitted Monday to hiring an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper.

But Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn promised to overcome Democratic tactics with long hours at the Capitol — including the possibility of working through Saturday.

“We’ll be burning the midnight oil,” Cornyn said Monday.


  • Chuck

    All of you who feel she is a good choice should be advised. If you own a home and pay school tax. You will continue to pay school tax, in addition you will pay for “for profit Charter schools”. In essence your tax bill will increase. This is due to her vision of allowing education to be privatized, in the form of Charter schools.

  • The TRUTH you don't want to hear.

    #1 Stop blaming the teachers when government, scumbag lawyers and parents, who refuse to take responsibility for their own spawn, have taken the freedom to educate out of the teachers hands. Since when do people with education degrees need to follow the step-by-step procedures written by people who sell books for a living? #2 Our current system is not working. Children don’t need the correct answer, as long as they follow Common Core brainwashing. Mountains of money is spent on a FAILED bullying policy that only makes the people who sell it rich. Bullying is even more of an issue now. We teach to the bottom. Sorry if your child is “special”, but that doesn’t mean we need to sacrifice the education of the future to slow down learning or simply allow your child to distract the rest of the class with their outbursts. I have seen WAY to much of this! The people who should be SUING schools it the “normal” families who’s child’s education is being affected by inclusion and disrespectful out of control children. PUT THE POWER BACK IN THE TEACHER’S HANDS! That is what they are PAID TO DO! If your child is a problem, you should have to pay another school to take them. American education needs a major make over. Get the money out of the hands of book companies and test manufacturers!

  • Mr. Papageorgio

    Wnep sucks I’m sick of being ‘moderated’… my god… someone actually has an opinion that differs from the powers that control the discussion

    • WarningFakeNews

      My sin was answering the “name one thing” good about DaVos, and I said “School Choice” and explained why. That sort of perspective interferes with the objective of keeping unionized teachers running the schools forever.

      That might be OK if our country were #1 in education, sadly- we’re not. Competition solves many problems, especially cost and quality concerns.

  • Writer Girl

    Some presidents throughout history, including Obama, could be considered “unqualified.” How does anyone qualify for the highest position in the country, anyway? Besides, the people elected Trump, so move on.

  • WarningFakeNews

    Being a lifetime government bureaucrat doesn’t qualify you to do anything exceptional. In fact, it prevents you from that.

  • Nikki Stadnitski Martini

    I love all of the talking about this pertaining to qualifications. Everyone knows we had a god as president with all those community organizing qualifications. Right?

    • A2B2C

      Most School Board members could answer the questions she flubbed or couldn’t answer at all. Do you think THEY are qualified to be Secretary of Education?

      • The TRUTH you don't want to hear.

        Exactly! School board members are not required to have ANY education background at all. Absolutely no knowledge of classroom management, curriculum or educational abilities required.

  • Tired old guy

    Love it, love it, love it. Democrats have now become the party of NO. The Vice President will more than likely be spending a lot of time breaking ties all through the confirmation votes. The libs better get more money from Soros, they are gonna need it for the next four years. People would have to be blind not to see the stark differences between the way Republicans accepted the Obama presidency and the way the Democrats are carrying now, at least reasonable common sense people but then liberals, well………..another story. To them no other agenda exists in this world but theirs.

      • Tired old guy

        You might want to do some fact checking before you shoot your mouth off there lib. Obama had 7 cabinet members appointed the day after he was sworn in and Clinton as Sec of State the next day. Some of them like Janet Napolitano and others they were not happy with but they gave him due deference. Facts do not seem to matter much to liberals. There were many others appointed shortly thereafter and it did not take a Vice Presidential vote to break the tie.

      • A2B2C

        Tired Old Guy, the ONLY question I asked you was, WHEN did the Repubs EVER accept Obama’s presidency? You failed to answer that one because they never, ever did. Their ONLY goal was to make him a one term president and they failed. The spent eight years doing nothing but trying to undermine and defeat anything brought forth.

      • Writer Girl

        Congress gave Obama a hard time, but the Dems used such tactics in the past, too. We the people accepted Obama as our President, unlike the left now, even though many of us couldn’t stand his policies.

      • WarningFakeNews

        One really encouraging thing is that the democrats still have no clue why they lost about 1000 seats in state and federal government since Obama took office. One discouraging thing is the GOP elite are almost as clueless as to that as the democrats are, and one really bad thing is that SOME of them wished it weren’t that way. On this list are Ryan, McCain, Graham, Rubio, Bush, and Kasich who all took campaign contributions from Soros affiliated companies. Huh. Imagine that.

      • Tired old guy

        What difference does it make. Devos was confirmed, your party is in the minority and your left wing liberal Candidate for president lost. Live with it and all the changes that are coming compliments of a President who cares and will work hard to make America great again. As far as I am concerned he has done more in the first two weeks in office than your failed, looser of a President did in eight.

      • Tired old guy

        What difference does it make. Devos was confirmed, your party is in the minority and your left wing liberal Candidate for president lost. Live with it and all the changes that are coming compliments of a President who cares and will work hard to make America great again. As far as I am concerned he has done more in the first two weeks in office than your failed, looser of a President did in eight.

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.