Betsy DeVos has been confirmed as Education Secretary today, as Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding vote after the Senate vote ended in a tie – 50 for and 50 against.
“The vice president votes in the affirmative,” Pence said as he slammed the gavel down and smiled. This is the first time a vice president has broken a Senate tie on a cabinet nominee.
The entire Democratic caucus of 48 members, plus two Republicans, Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski and Maine Senator Susan Collins voted against DeVoss, which brought the vote to a tie. The Republican caucus has 52 members.
The Democrats had hoped to sway one more Republican, and Monday through Tuesday they spoke for 24 hours in an effort to persuade more Republican colleges to vote against DeVos.
“My hope against hope that another Republican senator will have the courage of the senators from Alaska and Maine and join us,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), said earlier in his speech. It was not to be, however, as no further Republicans were swayed to vote against Trump’s nominee.