WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) — President Trump’s pick to head the Department of Education has cleared another hurdle in the path to an expected confirmation.
Friday morning, the Senate voted along party lines 52-48 to advance billionaire Betsy DeVos’ nomination.
The Cabinet pick has been criticized for her support of school choice and taxpayer-funded voucher programs that would divert resources from struggling public schools. Labor unions have accused her of looking to dismantle public education.
“The nominee for Secretary for Education is one of the worst nominees that has ever been brought before this body for a cabinet position,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who called on his colleagues to vote against her in a rare early morning session. “Sometimes loyalty to the president demands too much. Mrs. Devos doesn’t deserve to be Secretary of Education.”
No Democrats voted yes. Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska also vowed to oppose DeVos.
Her supporters said they’re putting students first.
“The real debate isn’t Betsy DeVos,” said Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). “The real debate is generations of kids that are stuck in under-performing schools. That is a travesty.”
DeVos is expected to be confirmed Monday. Vice President Mike Pence will be in the chamber to break an expected 50-50 tie.
“She’ll be an excellent secretary in my judgement and an important one for this country,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN).
DeVos is married to Dick DeVos, the former CEO of multi-level marketing company Amway. Her brother, Erik Prince, was a U.S. Navy SEAL and founded private military company Blackwater, now known as Academi.