WASHINGTON — The Senate voted early Friday to advance President Donald Trump’s education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos to a final confirmation vote, which is expected Monday.
The vote was 52 to 48 along party lines.
Senators convened at the unusual, early hour — 6:30 a.m. ET — because of Democratic stalling tactics that reflect their unhappiness with Trump’s cabinet picks and the overall confirmation process.
DeVos has come under fire from Democrats and two key Republicans for her positions on public and charter schools, as well as statements made during her confirmation hearing last month.
Despite losing support from Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, she is expected to be confirmed Monday with the help of Vice President Mike Pence, who will be in the chamber to break an expected 50-50 tie.
Collins and Murkowski, who both have said they intend to vote against DeVos’ final conformation, voted to end the debate and advance her confirmation, as expected.
In an impassioned show of opposition, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer implored other senators to “look into their conscience” over the weekend and reconsider their support for DeVos, saying she is “one of the worst nominees that has ever been” brought before the Senate.
“Sometimes loyalty to a new president demands a bit too much,” he said. “With this nominee it does.”
Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, said in a statement hat he was “pleased” to support DeVos, citing her work in the conservative education reform movement over the years.
“Too many American kids are being left behind every day,” he said. “That is not acceptable to Betsy DeVos, and it is not acceptable to me.”