WASHINGTON D.C. — Senate Democrats have taken to the floor in a last-ditch effort to prevent the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary.
Democrats have vowed to hold the floor all the way until the vote on Tuesday afternoon, with the hopes of convincing one Republican to vote no, which would block her from receiving Senate confirmation.
The current vote projection has it at 50-50, with all Democrats voting no, along with Republicans Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine. If the vote does end up as a tie, Vice President Mike Pence would be called on to cast the tiebreaker, which would be the first time in history that a VP has been needed to break a tie on a cabinet nominee.
The outrage to her confirmation largely started after her hearing in front of the Senate HELP committee, where she attempted to dodge questions from Democrats, but ended up stuttering and stammering her way through the hearing. After that, a large grassroots campaign started on social media encouraging citizens to contact their senators and encourage them to vote against her confirmation.
“Her views are extreme,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) said. “She seems to constantly demean the main purpose of her job, public education.”
“This nomination is dead even right now — on the razor’s edge,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Education Committee, said. “For the vast majority of people across the country, public education isn’t just another issue. It’s different. We believe that a commitment to strong public schools is part of America’s core. The idea that every student, in every community, should have the opportunities that strong public schools offer. This is a notion that is embedded in our values. It’s who we are. It’s in our blood.”
The Senate voted 52-48 last week to invoke cloture, meaning that debate on the nomination is limited to just 30 hours. The final vote is projected to be around 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday.