Vice President Mike Pence was forced to cast the deciding vote Tuesday for President Donald Trump’s totally unqualified pick for education secretary ― the first time a vice president’s tie-breaking vote has been needed for a Cabinet confirmation.
Betsy DeVos garnered a 50-50 tie from senators, with all 48 Democrats in the chamber and two Republicans voting against her. The vote came after Democrats held the Senate floor for 24 hours straight, in hopes of pressuring another Republican to join their side, but not a single Republican has the guts to join them.
With the exception of Murkowski and Collins, Republicans toed the party line, creating the type of political gridlock that is rare for votes on Cabinet secretary confirmations.
DeVos ― who comes from a billionaire Michigan family ― inspired opposition from teachers unions and public education advocates after her nomination was first announced in November. However, after she had what many saw as a lackluster and embarrassing performance at her confirmation hearing, the calls of those opposing her grew louder. DeVos was mocked for her comment that schools might need guns to ward off grizzly bear attacks and for her seeming lack of familiarity with mainstream education concepts and laws.
There has been some chatter about Michigan public school children calling in sick tomorrow in support of the Democrats in congress trying to stop this.