You can thank Mike Pence for breaking the tie
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On Tuesday, In a 51-to-50 vote, the Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as Trump’s education secretary despite the Democratic Party’s efforts to block her appointment. As expected, the vote fell largely along party lines, with all 48 Senate Democrats opposing DeVos along with Republicans Lisa Murkowski from Alaska and Susan Collins from Maine. Vice President Mike Pence voted in support of DeVos to break the tie. According to the The New York Times, this is the first time in history a cabinet nomination required a vice president’s vote to break a tie.
DeVos, a Michigan billionaire and steadfast Trump supporter, has spent much of her career promoting “school choice” programs, which support parents choosing their kids’ schools with the help of federally funded vouchers. So, what’s the catch? Critics of this plan say it would severely undermine public school funding, ushering in a new wave of systematic segregation in American schools. That, combined with DeVos’s utter lack of experience in the public school system, warranted wholehearted opposition from democratic senators. Some Trump supporters have come out against her approach as well, arguing that public schools are the only option for many rural students.
On Monday night before the vote took place, Democrats made a last-ditch effort to protest DeVos by occupying the Senate floor for 24 hours. For the complete list of senators who voted for and against DeVos, head over to the The New York Times. Moving forward with Trump’s cabinet appointments, the Senate will move to vote on attorney general nominee Senator Jeff Sessions next.