Betsy DeVos confirmed as education secretary
By: Annie Yager, Xiro Xone News February 7, 2017 Updated: 11:25 PM
Betsy DeVos has been confirmed as President Donald Trump’s secretary of education 51-50, with Vice President Mike Pence, casting the tie-breaking vote, making history as he became the first vice president to resolve a deadlocked vote on Cabinet nomination.
Vice President Pence did not appear in the Senate chamber until the vote had nearly finished. Then, reading from a script, the vice-president announced his tie-breaking vote for DeVos’s nomination.
Democrats cited DeVos’s lack of public school experience and financial interests in organizations pushing charter schools. DeVos has said she would divest herself from those organizations.
Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska expressed their fear that DeVos’s focus on charter schools will undermine remote public schools in their states.
As a political activist and philanthropist, DeVos has spent decades lobbying to expand charter schools and voucher programs, which allow public funds to pay tuition at private and religious schools.
As secretary, DeVos takes over an agency with about 4,500 employees and a budget of about $70 billion that administers and establishes policies for federal assistance to the states for secondary schools and higher education, as well as helping to enforce federal laws involving schools.