Government, Higher Education, and Human Resources

Betsy DeVos confirmed as education secretary

February 7, 2017
| By Pat Evans |
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Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos
Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos. Photo by AP/Carolyn Kaster

West Michigan will officially be represented in the Trump administration after a historic vote.

The U.S. Senate vote to confirm Betsy DeVos as President Donald Trump’s education secretary required a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump tweeted prior to the vote this morning: "Sen Dems protest to keep the failed status quo. Betsy DeVos is a reformer, and she is going to be a great Education Sec. for our kids!"

DeVos finished with 51 votes for and 50 against, including two Republicans, Maine Senator Susan Collins and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, as Democrats spent the entire night arguing against her selection.

Collins and Murkowski voted no with concerns about how charter schools might affect rural public schools in their states, according to the Associated Press.

It was the first cabinet vote that needed the vice president to break a tie, according to The New York Times, citing a Senate historian.

DeVos received flak from both Democrats and Republicans regarding her experience in education and her work promoting charter schools. Financial conflicts of interests also played a part in the opposition to DeVos.

However, “most Republicans described her as committed and determined to put what is best for children above all else,” according to The New York Times.

Thus far, six cabinet members and officials have been confirmed by the Senate. This week, several more nominees dividing the Senate are to be voted on, including Republican Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general, GOP Rep. Tom Price from Georgia as health secretary and Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary.

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