Senators Kick Off All-Night Debate to Stop DeVos
Mike Pence could end up casting historic vote
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2017 12:33 AM CST
Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks on the Senate floor about the nomination of Betsy DeVos to be Education Secretary.   (Senate TV via AP)
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(Newser) – Democratic senators are kicking off an all-night debate in a final effort to prevent the confirmation of the woman Charles Schumer says is the "least qualified" of President Trump's nominees. The Senate is set to vote on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as education secretary at noon Tuesday, and Democrats hope the 24-hour session that began at noon on Monday will give members of the public a last chance to persuade their representatives not to vote for her, NPR reports. The Senate is currently split 50-50, with two Republicans joining Democrats in opposing DeVos, meaning Mike Pence could become the first vice president ever to cast the deciding vote in a 50-50 tie over a Cabinet nominee, reports the Hill.

Republicans thought to have been wavering, including Nevada's Dean Heller and Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey, have declared their support for DeVos, but Democrats haven't given up on defeating her. "I know for a fact there are other Republicans who are feeling the heat and could come around," Sen. Patty Murray said Monday. Politico reports that senators have already received tens of thousands of calls and emails from people opposing DeVos, a major GOP donor whose lack of public school experience makes her one of Trump's most controversial Cabinet picks. "It is difficult to imagine a worse choice" to head the department, Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Monday. (A teacher started a campaign to "buy" Toomey's vote.)

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