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DeVos gets confirmed with a Pence assist

Tuesday, February 07, 2017 - 01:56

Betsy DeVos got confirmed as the new Education Secretary Tuesday, but needed a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence after two Republican Senators voted with the Democrats against her. Andy Sullivan reports.

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President Trump's most controversial cabinet pick squeaking through the Senate - with an assist from Vice President Pence. Billionaire Betsy DeVos is now headed to the Education Department, narrowly winning Senate confirmation despite determined opposition from half of the chamber's lawmakers, who said she was simply not qualified for the job. Republicans rolling out Vice President Mike Pence to cast the tie breaking vote - the Senate hasn't rejected any president's cabinet nominee since 1989, and Republicans were not about to let that happen today. Democrats have tried every trick in the book to slow down the confirmation process, but they haven't been able to actually derail any of Trump's nominees. DeVos was their best chance to claim a scalp - the autoparts heiress has spent millions of dollars advocating for charter schools and other alternatives to the traditional public school system, but she's never worked as a teacher or served on a school board. Her lack of experience apparent at her confirmation hearing, when she fumbled questions about special education and guns in schools. That prompted two Republicans - Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska - to say they would vote against Devos. Democrats united in opposition, and opponents flooded the phone lines of the capitol. But the other 50 Republicans holding firm - Devos has been a big donor to the party and her ideas about education are widely shared by conservatives. With the chamber locked in stalemate, Vice President Mike Pence casting the tiebreaking vote for Devos - the first time that's ever happened in a confirmation vote.

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DeVos gets confirmed with a Pence assist

Tuesday, February 07, 2017 - 01:56