The Senate has confirmed school choice activist Betsy DeVos as Education secretary, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie.
The Senate historian says it was the first time a vice president had to break a tie on a Cabinet nomination.
Two Republicans joined Democrats Tuesday to vote to derail DeVos' nomination. Democrats cited her lack of public school experience and financial interests in organizations pushing charter schools. DeVos has said she would divest herself from those organizations.
Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska fear that DeVos' focus on charter schools will undermine remote public schools in their states.
In an earlier tweet, President Donald Trump wrote "Betsy DeVos is a reformer, and she is going to be a great Education Sec. for our kids!"
DeVos, a wealthy Republican donor and longtime school choice advocate, has emerged as one of Trump's most controversial Cabinet picks. Labor unions have bitterly contested DeVos' nomination, fearing that she will undermine public education by promoting charter schools and publicly funded voucher programs for private schools.
Trump stood behind his nominee, accusing Democrats of fighting progress and change.
Congressman John Moolenaar (R-Midland) issued the following statement on the confirmation:
Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) issued the following statement:
“I am beyond disappointed to see Betsy DeVos become our next Education Secretary. Her failed experiment in Michigan pushing unregulated and unaccountable charter schools has led to terrible results for our children, who will bear the greatest burden of today’s vote. I hope she takes the time to learn the importance of public schools in a civil society so that every child gets the quality education they deserve.
“It’s also no coincidence that Betsy and the DeVos family have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to many of the Republican Senators who just voted to give her this job. Betsy DeVos is a billionaire who used her family’s fortune to push her special interest agenda and buy herself a Cabinet seat.”
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