WASHINGTON (CBS) — Betsy DeVos is the next secretary of education after she was narrowly confirmed for the job Tuesday.
The close vote forced Vice President Mike Pence to fulfill his constitutional duty when Senate lawmakers couldn’t come to a consensus.
This is the first time a vice president has been needed to break the tie in a Cabinet confirmation vote.
Senate Democrats debated DeVos’ nomination throughout the night in hopes of getting another Republican to vote against DeVos.
“This is so close. We are within just one vote,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.
Republicans Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins joined their Democratic colleagues in opposing DeVos.
President Donald Trump took to Twitter to slam the debate, saying, “Senate Dems protest to keep failed status quo. Betsy DeVos is a reformer, and she is going to be a great education sec. for our kids!”
Senators say their offices have been inundated with emails and phone calls from parents concerned about Ms. Devos’ nomination.
“Millions and millions of calls, almost unprecedented on a Cabinet nomination, have poured into this Capitol,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Many are opposed to DeVos because she has no personal or professional experience in public education.
However, her supporters say the education system needs an outsider.
“Ms. DeVos is going to shake things up a little bit but more importantly, she’s going to be part of this effort to return power to parents and teachers,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.
DeVos has spent three decades using her personal wealth to advocate for public school alternatives.
DeVos will be sworn in Tuesday night.