On Tuesday morning, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee met to vote on Betsy DeVos’ Secretary of the Department of Education nomination.
DeVos, Donald Trump’s pick for Education Secretary, has been criticized by parents, educators, and democratic lawmakers for her lack of knowledge regarding IDEA — a federal law ensuring special education services to children with disabilities — as well as her promotion of voucher programs and charter schools and her absence of teaching credentials and qualifications.
The vote, which passed 12 to 11, was split down party lines with all Democrats voting against DeVos and all Republicans voting for. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who was physically absent from the vote, voted by proxy, making committee Democrats question whether or not the quorum needed for a vote to count was truly present. Without Hatch’s vote, the vote was 11 to 11.
After much debate, Hatch rejoined the committee for a vote, and DeVos was confirmed with 12 votes for and 11 against.
The vote does not mean DeVos is confirmed as education secretary, rather the vote to confirm DeVos moves to the Senate, where it needs a simple majority to pass.