Betsy DeVos – Trump’s Most Embattled Nominee

My Facebook’s least favorite Trump nominee appears to be the only one (for now) in actual danger of not being seated.

Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos looks like the first cabinet nominee this year to have bipartisan opposition to her in the Senate. Two Republicans – Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) – both women, both somewhat moderate, announced Wednesday that they would oppose DeVos’ nomination at final vote. Since Republicans have 52 votes in the Senate, which my public school education tells me means that they can’t afford to lose another.

This brings a tricky bit of business into play involving Jeff Sessions. Sessions is Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, but he also, for now, is a voting member of the United States Senate from Alabama. With the loss of Collins and Murkowski, Republicans need his vote to force a 50-50 tie (if all Democrats stay in line, which, miraculously, they seem to be). The tie would then be broken by Vice President Mike Pence in his role as President of the Senate. This hasn’t ever happened before when it comes to a cabinet nomination, but then again, lots of things that haven’t happened before occur with some regularity these days.

So, if Sessions is confirmed as Attorney General before DeVos gets her vote, Republicans would have only 49 votes to confirm her, which isn’t enough. DeVos’s cloture vote is expected to be taken Friday, which will be followed by 30 hours of debate and a final vote either this weekend or next week. So, in essence, Democrats are getting two for the price of one. They’re putting up a rare unified fight against a Trump nominee, and they’re inconveniencing Jeff Sessions.

Tthis is a good example of grassroots political activism at work. DeVos has drawn outrage from the Democratic rank-and-file in scope that far outweighs her rank in the Cabinet pecking-order (name four other Secretaries of Education – go! Exactly.) But there’s good reason to be skeptical of her ability to run the department, and Collins and Murkoswki echoed those skepticisms in their statements:

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