With the confirmation vote for President Donald Trump's education nominee, Betsy DeVos, expected to take place at noon on Tuesday, Senate Democrats have said they will "hold the floor" overnight in a last-ditch effort to convince one more Republican to vote against the Michigan billionaire.
With all Democrats and Independents, plus two Republicans, voting against DeVos, the vote currently stands at 50-50. That means Vice President Mike Pence will likely cast a tie-breaking vote (for the first time in history on a cabinet nominee). DeVos opponents rallied last week and over the weekend seeking to sway rural Republicans, to no avail.
But Democrats, who say GOP mega-donor and right-wing ideologue DeVos is unqualified for the nation's top education post, aren't giving up yet.
"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," Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said from the Senate floor Monday. "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."
"Now is the time to put country before party," added Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). "Her views are extreme," Schumer said of DeVos, who has lobbied extensively for charter schools and voucher programs. "She seems to constantly demean the main purpose of her job, public education."
Meanwhile, in an op-ed published Monday, former White House ethics lawyers Norman Eisen and Richard Painter write that DeVos' "extensive financial holdings present significant—and unresolved—conflict of interest issues." Those, taken together with her failure "to provide the Senate with accurate information about her past and present involvement with outside organizations," they say, "disqualify" DeVos for the position.
— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) February 6, 2017
My shift is at 2 am... https://t.co/8KvbA8YiGx
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) February 6, 2017