WASHINGTON — Two Republican senators announced on Wednesday that they would vote against school-voucher advocate Betsy DeVos to be education secretary, putting President Donald Trump’s nominee dangerously close to falling short of the number of GOP votes needed to win confirmation.
According to Marketwatch the decision by Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska means the GOP, which holds 52 Senate seats, can’t afford to lose any more Republicans if the party wants to assure DeVos of confirmation.
Cabinet nominees can win confirmation on a simple majority vote. The Senate is currently divided 52-48 between Republicans and Democrats, leaving 50 -50 tie if all Democrats vote join the two GOP senators in opposing her. Republican Vice President Mike Pence is expected to break any ties.
Both senators emphasized DeVos’s lack of experience with public education. The nominee has been an activist on school choice and voucher issues, but hasn’t worked in the public schools and neither she nor her children attended them.