The vote came after a 24-hour debate in the Senate during which Democrats repeatedly pounded DeVos for her failure to know basics about special education.
Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, and Susan Collins, of ME, sided with every Democrat and two Independent senators to oppose DeVos.
GOP Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski have announced their intention to vote against DeVos, which would leave her with the bare minimum of 50 votes in her favor.
Betsy DeVos, billionaire Republican megadonor and school voucher advocate, was confirmed Tuesday as head of the U.S. Department of Education, despite a loud outcry from education advocates and Democrats who said she was unqualified for the job. Vice President Mike Pence cast an historic, tie-breaking vote to confirm the West Michigan native.
But Democrats cited her lack of experience working with public schools and her financial ties to charter schools among reasons for their opposition. He claimed they were only opposed because she was nominated by a Republican president.
“I share the concerns of parents and educators that Betsy DeVos is unfit to serve as Secretary of Education”, Durbin said in a statement.
During her confirmation hearing, DeVos said, “If I’m confirmed, I will not be involved or engaged in political contributions and my husband will not be either”. Critics have called her unprepared to lead the Department of Education after a rocky Senate confirmation hearing. His confirmation vote was scheduled for just after Ms DeVos to ensure he could take part.
Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado called DeVos’ nomination “an insult to school children and their families”. They also promised to protest at any public events where she speaks.
“It is hard to imagine a worse choice to head the Department of Education”, Senator Warren said, speaking Monday from the Senate floor.
“Those sorts of things aren’t really aren’t meant to equalize education”, she says.