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Vice President Pence Breaks Tied Vote to Confirm Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary

In an unprecedented 50-50 split, Vice President Mike Pence casts a historic and disappointing vote to confirm Trump's controversial cabinet nominee.

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Since being elected president, Donald Trump has nominated a slew of controversial appointments to his cabinet. From billionaire oil baron Rex Tillerson to ultra-conservative Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, each of his selections have been met with dissent from Democrats. But no nominee has caused as much of an uproar as wealthy GOP donor Betsy DeVos.

On Tuesday, the Senate disregarded the nation’s widespread concern and confirmed DeVos as education secretary. The vote was split 50-to-50, but tilted in the nominee’s favor after Vice President Mike Pence cast a historic tiebreaking vote allowing to DeVos to pass through by the slimmest of margins.

Known as a major proponent for charter schools and vouchers, DeVos has been heavily criticized for her inexperience and disdain for the public school system. Last night, to no avail, the Senate Democrats staged an all-night session to protest the nomination. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren took the floor to lambast DeVos, stating that it’s “difficult to imagine a worse choice to head the Department of Education."

Despite the last ditch effort, the Dems were unable to convince enough of their peers across the aisle. Two Republican Senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, decided to break from the party line to vote against DeVos. Unfortunately, the Democrats still fell one vote short of a majority, leaving the final decision in the hands of Vice President Pence.  

After stumbling through a painful confirmation hearing last month, DeVos sparked outrage from teachers’ unions and even various charter programs. Most Republicans have defended their vote by describing the wealthy Michigan right-winger as committed to doing what is best for the children. 

But DeVos’ narrow-minded focus on charter schools could leave the public education system in jeopardy. Needless to say, her confirmation is likely to be met with substantial outrage and possibly even a nationwide strike.

Tomorrow, the Senate is expected to hold a confirmation vote on Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general. Though his racist history and anti-marijuana stance has drawn massive concern from the left, the passing of DeVos leaves little hope that Sessions will be stopped either.