DeVos nomination: Senate votes to end debate - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

DeVos nomination: Senate votes to end debate

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Betsy DeVos faces a close vote in the Senate for nomination as education secretary on Friday. (Source: CNN) Betsy DeVos faces a close vote in the Senate for nomination as education secretary on Friday. (Source: CNN)

(RNN) - The nomination of Betsy DeVos as education secretary advances after an early morning vote Friday to end debate.

The 52-48 vote, which fell along party lines, sets up a final vote early next week to confirm or reject the nomination.

Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell scheduled the cloture vote early in the morning Friday so that the full Senate can vote on Devos' nomination on Monday or Tuesday.

Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, bashed DeVos on Friday morning as "one of the worst nominees to ever be brought forward" to the Senate.

"On the grounds of competence, on the grounds of ideology and on the grounds of conflict of interest, she scores very, very low," he said.

DeVos' Republican support has faltered, with two Republicans senators - Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska - saying she doesn't have their vote. 

"I will vote today to proceed to debate on Mrs. DeVos' nomination but Madam President, I will not, I cannot vote to confirm her as our nation's next Secretary of Education," Collins said on Thursday.

Though Collins and Murkowski said they will ultimately oppose DeVos, they joined with their fellow Republicans to end debate on her nomination Friday, the Hill reported.

Murkowski said DeVos is too "immersed in the discussion of vouchers" for her support.

If another Republican rejects DeVos, her nomination will fail. With Collins and Murkowski voting against her, Pence will have to cast the tiebreaking vote to confirm Devos.

DeVos has been criticized about her appearance of not being prepared for Senate confirmation hearings and the whimsical nature of her answer about guns in schools - talking about the dangers of bear attacks. She also has been criticized for her overall qualifications and questioned for her commitment to public schools.

She also has been accused of plagiarism in her written responses to the Senate, allegedly plagiarizing former Department of Justice official Vanita Gupta and the Department of Education website.

Eli Broad, a billionaire philanthropist and public school advocate, slammed DeVos and urged her nomination's defeat.

He said he's worried that if she takes over the Department of Education, "much of the good work that has been accomplished to improve public education for all of America's children could be undone."

DeVos, a billionaire Republican donor, is married to the heir of the AmWay empire and is a charter school advocate.

"Mrs. DeVos believes in our children, their teachers and parents - she believes in the local school board instead of the national school board," Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-TN, said in a statement. "She's committed to public education, and there's no better example of that than her work on the most important reform of public schools in the last 30 years - public charter schools."

Only nine other cabinet nominees in U.S. history have been rejected by Congress. The White House said it remains confident she will be approved.

The confirmations of Trump's cabinet has pitted Democrats against Republicans and the Trump administration, with the Democrats boycotting some Senate committee meetings and the Trump administration complaining how long the Senate is taking in confirming the cabinet.

The Democrats have complained about some nominees providing incomplete or misleading answers to their questions.

In response to Senate boycotts, Republicans have change committee rules to advance cabinets members without Democrats present.

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