The U.S. Senate split a 50-50 vote on Betsy DeVos’s confirmation for Secretary of Education on Tuesday. The even results required Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie breaking vote, with his choice confirming DeVos will take the position on Donald Trump’s cabinet.
At the confirmation proceedings Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott said he supported DeVos as education secretary because he has known the family for several years. Scott believes that Democrats, when they filibustered the confirmation process, incorrectly set their focus on the nominee and not public school children.
“The secretary of education cannot — cannot privatize education,” Scott said on the Senate floor before voting for Devos. “That would take an act of Congress. So, yes, we should have a passionate debate about education and, yes, we should make sure — make sure — that the focus of that debate is on the kid.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham also voted to confirm Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.
Earlier this week, Scott faced criticism on his Twitter and Facebook page for supporting DeVos. Some users on social media cited concerns about DeVos’s lack of experience in education. In her Senate confirmation hearing last month, DeVos admitted that she has never taught in a classroom or held an administrative role at a public school. The South Carolina Democratic Party believed that Scott should recuse himself from the vote for accepting over $48,000 in campaign donations from the DeVos family.
Scott praised all of the responses that his office received but his office claimed a majority of the backlash came from out of state, according to the Post and Courier.
To contest that statement, more than 40 members of the South Carolina School Board Association stopped by Scott’s office at the capital to drop off letters of disapproval in his decision to support DeVos.
“I am thankful for all the calls, for the passion we’ve seen about education policy for the past two weeks,” Scott posted on Twitter.
Scott maintains that his decision to confirm DeVos will help improve education in South Carolina and across the nation.
Because without education, incarceration rates go up, unemployment goes up, lifetime earnings go down.
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) February 7, 2017