DeVos Confirmed As Education Secretary With Pence's Tie-Breaking Vote

Both of Iowa's USA senators voted in favor of controversial secretary of education nominee Betsy DeVos on Tuesday, helping ensure her confirmation on a party-line vote. The two senators already announced their intention to vote against DeVos ahead of Tuesday's confirmation.

DeVos also appeared to plagiarize from a former Education Department official in her Senate questionnaire, generally an academic no-no.

Democrats needed only one more Republican to cast a vote against DeVos, since two others-Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska-had already indicated they'd vote against her. Senate Democrats hope their arguments will convince just one more Republican to cross party lines and oppose the MI billionaire's confirmation - alongside Republican Sens. The Senate vote takes place at noon Tuesday.

Pence's vote was in accordance with his post as president of the Senate.

Minnesota's senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., gave DeVos a "no" vote.

During her Senate confirmation hearing last month, DeVos struggled to answer a series of tough questions from Democrats, who sought to highlight her inexperience for the job. A longtime charter school activist, she originally received warm support from many anti-Trump figures in the Republican establishment such as Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney.

The aim of a marathon floor debate is to raise all the issues and concerns about DeVos, a major Republican donor from MI.

DeVos was the chair of the Michigan Republican Party and finance chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

In another exchange, DeVos appeared confused about a federal civil rights law protecting students with disabilities and suggested it was an issue best left to individual states. DeVos has been an outspoken advocate of private charter schools and school choice.

"Betsy DeVos is a reformer, and she is going to be a great Education Sec. for our kids!"

President Donald Trump tweeted his support for DeVos ahead of the vote: "Senate Dems protest to keep the failed status quo".

  • Rogelio Becker