The Senate woke up bright and early Friday morning to vote on President Donald Trump’s education secretary Betsy DeVos to advance her to a final vote on Monday.
She advanced with a 52-48 vote, but her confirmation vote will not come easy.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) scheduled the 6:30AM ET vote because rules state that the Senate needs 30 hours for debate before the leader can schedule the actual confirmation vote.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke out against DeVos on the floor this morning:
In an impassioned show of opposition, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer implored other senators to “look into their conscience” over the weekend and reconsider their support for DeVos, saying she is “one of the worst nominees that has ever been” brought before the Senate.
“Sometimes loyalty to a new president demands a bit too much,” he said. “With this nominee it does.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) considers the opposition against DeVos unfair and believes ties to teachers unions influence their decision:
“If people think our public education system is perfect, then I guess they don’t think we need to have any changes or any choices for students and their families,” he said. “I certainly think we do.”
“I come to the floor to announce a very difficult decision that I have made, and that is to vote against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos to be our nation’s next secretary of Education,” Collins said from the Senate floor.
Collins specifically pointed to DeVos’s “lack of familiarly” with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, saying she was “troubled and surprised.”
This means the confirmation vote stands at 50-50, which means Vice President Mike Pence will have to break the tie. A vice president has never had to break a tie vote for a confirmation vote for a Cabinet nominee.
But if DeVos loses another Republican senator, that will not happen. Democrats remain hopeful another Republican senator will defect, but it appears the likely suspects will remain on the yes side.
The Huffington Post believes that Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) remains the top suspect, but he actually announced his support of DeVos:
“I am pleased to vote to confirm Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education,” he said in a statement. “Too many American kids are being left behind every day. That is not acceptable to Betsy DeVos, and it is not acceptable to me.”
Other possible swing votes include Sens. John Hoeven (ND), Deb Fischer (NE), and Dean Heller (NV). But all three have said they will vote for DeVos.