2 GOP Senators Voting Against DeVos, Which Could Mean a Tie

Mike Pence would then be the tie-breaker
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2017 1:57 PM CST
Betsy DeVos Facing Tight Confirmation Vote
In this Jan. 17, 2017, file photo, Education Secretary-nominee Betsy DeVos testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Betsy DeVos' confirmation vote in the Senate Wednesday will be tight: Two Republican senators announced Wednesday that they will oppose DeVos' nomination to be secretary of Education. Assuming all of the Senate's 48 Democrats also oppose DeVos, that means she'd have 50 yes votes and 50 no votes if no other Republicans oppose her, with Vice President Mike Pence potentially breaking the tie, the Hill reports. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was the first to announce on the Senate floor that she would vote against DeVos, making her the first Republican to oppose one of President Trump's cabinet nominees. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was the second to announce she would vote no.

Collins said it was a "very difficult decision," but that she was "troubled and surprised" by DeVos' lack of familiarity with the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. Murkowski said she had "serious concerns" about DeVos, and that "thousands, truly thousands" of her constituents had called her expressing their own concerns. Both Collins and Murkowski expressed concerns with DeVos' support for school voucher programs, Politico reports. In order to avoid using Pence as a tie-breaker, Republicans would need to flip at least one Democrat up for re-election in a red state next year—and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, seen as one of the most vulnerable Dems in such a position, also said Wednesday he would vote against DeVos. (More Betsy DeVos stories.)

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