Betsy DeVos narrowly confirmed by US Senate in a 51-50 vote
The U.S. Senate has voted to confirm controversial nominee Betsy DeVos to Secretary of Education.
Despite two Republicans pulling their support for DeVos, others with financial ties to DeVos were unwilling to vote against her. The billionaire was confirmed in a 51-50 vote, after Vice President Mike Pence came to the Capitol to break the 50-50 tie.
It was the first time a vice president had to break a tie on a Cabinet nomination vote, according to the Associated Press.
Senators received a record number of calls from their constituents opposing DeVos. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) specifically received so many complaints from his constituents that a voicemail message urged callers to simply hang up.
DeVos drew criticism during her confirmation hearing because she didn’t know the U.S. was obligated by law to educate physically and mentally disabled children. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) hammered DeVos during the hearing, specifically criticizing her family’s support for LGBT conversion therapy, which is now considered child abuse in some states.
DeVos also earned backlash for her claim that guns were necessary in schools to protect against grizzly bears. One Wyoming teacher shot back that fences were actually more effective.
DeVos’s hearing was such a failure, Republican consultant Ana Navarro asked if she was dropped on her head as a child. Lefty Bill Maher mocked DeVos as a “nincompoop” who is so uneducated on the Department of Education that it would be like putting lesbian comedian Ellen DeGeneres “in charge of d*ck.”