Editor’s note: After a historic tie-breaking vote cast by Vice President Pence, DeVos has been confirmed as Trump’s Secretary of Education. Pence is the first Vice President to break a tied note for a Cabinet nominee.
Just a single Senate Republican vote will decide whether or not Betsy DeVos will be confirmed as Trump’s Education Secretary – and Senate Democrats are holding the floor for 24 hours in the hopes of gaining that vote.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is calling for people to help by contacting their representatives and expressing their opposition to DeVos:
“Democrats will hold the floor for the next 24 hours, until the final vote, to do everything we can to persuade just one more Republican to join us, and I strongly encourage people across the country to join us – to double down on your advocacy – and to keep making your voices heard for these last 24 hours.”
The final vote is currently expected to be a 50-50 tie, with two Senate Republicans having already turned against DeVos. If this is the case, then Vice President Pence could cast his vote to break the tie and confirm DeVos.
And Pence has already said that “it would be my high honor” to cast this tie-breaking vote.
But if only one more Senate Republican can be turned against DeVos, she will not be confirmed.
DeVos has been criticized by progressives and educators alike for displaying a lack of basic knowledge of educational issues and for her financial ties to the Republican party.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), former attorney general of California, who joined the Democratic senators in their 24-hour floor session Monday night, believes DeVos is unqualified for the position:
Simply put: it is clear that Betsy DeVos has not done her homework in preparing for the job and we must refuse to confirm her. #HoldTheFloor
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) February 7, 2017
Jeffrey Wright, star of HBO’s Westworld tweeted Monday evening:
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) February 7, 2017
DeVos herself conceded that it is “possible” her family has donated $200M to the Republican party, which raises questions about whether or not these contributions influenced her nomination.
During DeVos’ confirmation hearing, Bernie Sanders addressed the question of these contributions directly:
Sanders: “I have heard the number was $200 million. Does that sound in the ballpark?”
DeVos: “Collectively? Between my entire family?”
Sanders: “Yeah, over the years.”
DeVos: “That’s possible”
If Senate Democrats follow through with their 24-hour session, the final vote to confirm or reject DeVos as Education Secretary will take place today at Noon.