Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Capitol Hill for a potential tie-breaking vote on President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos.
A spokesman for the vice president confirmed to Breitbart News that Pence would be in attendance for the U.S. Senate vote on DeVos.
The Senate holds a 52-48 Republican majority, but on Wednesday, two Republican senators made known that each will vote against DeVos in a floor confirmation vote. Liberal Republican Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) are those two senators who could force Pence to break a tie. Collins declared that she cannot and will not support DeVos. Murkowski said she tried to “get to yes” but could not.
Should the vote come down 50-50, Pence, in his capacity as president of the Senate, could provide the tie-breaking vote on confirmation.
Trump nominee for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions, has yet to be confirmed. He is among the 52 Republicans in the Senate, and if Collins and Murkowski stand firm in their determination to vote against DeVos, Sessions’ positive vote to confirm DeVos would be needed just to reach a 50-50 tie, assuming remaining senators vote along party lines. The Senate will likely hold the vote to confirm Sessions until after the vote on DeVos, should his vote be needed to confirm her. It remains to be seen whether any Democrats will break ranks and vote for DeVos.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said of DeVos’ pending confirmation, “I am 100 percent confident she will be the next secretary of education.”
Opponents of Common Core curriculum have criticized a DeVos confirmation. She herself has vehemently denied support for Common Core since her nomination. Breitbart News reported that she does enjoy the support of Common Core proponent Jeb Bush. DeVos has also been described as an ardent supporter of school choice, a quality that has drawn sharp opposition from Democrats and teachers unions.
As of Thursday afternoon, the vote on DeVos had been postponed until Monday, according to the Hill. While the Senate will likely be able to vote on DeVos by Saturday, some Republican senators needed to secure the votes to confirm DeVos, or at least reach a tie, are expected to be absent.
A vote in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee to advance DeVos’s confirmation to a full Senate vote revealed straight party-line positions on selection for the secretary of education, 12-11.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.