Going into Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump only had six of his 15 cabinet secretaries confirmed by the United States Senate.
Only two nominees were confirmed on his Inauguration Day, much lower than his predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, who had six and seven confirmed respectively.
The next vote turned to his nominee for the Department of Education Betsy DeVos, who already had two Republicans pledge their votes against her.
Democrats had pressured vulnerable GOP senators by holding the Senate floor overnight by admonishing DeVos for her support of charter schools and education reform.
But it was all for naught.
The onus was on the Trump and the Republicans to keep their conference together and they were successful, voting 51-50 with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tiebreaking vote.
This is the first time a vice president cast a tiebreaking vote was ever cast on the Senate floor for a cabinet nominee.
Pence told Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace that he was “very confident” that DeVos would get confirmed.
The two GOP senators that defected were Sens Susan Collins, R-Maine and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.
Bill McMorris of the Washington Free Beacon provides proper context as to why Collins and Murkowski voted with the Democrats.
Murkowski and Collins have each benefited from contributions from the National Education Association. Collins received $2,000 from the union in 2002 and 2008, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Murkowski, meanwhile, has received $23,500.
The NEA represents 3 million members, making it the wealthiest and most influential union in the country. The NEA, along with other labor groups like the American Federation of Teachers, has waged a fierce campaign against DeVos, a billionaire philanthropist and school choice activist.
Trump now has five secretaries of 15 confirmed. DeVos joins Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley have also been confirmed.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal
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