(L to R) Betsy DeVos, president-elect Donald Trump and vice president-elect Mike Pence pose for a photo outside the clubhouse at Trump International Golf Club, November 19, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey.
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate schedules early-morning vote on Betsy DeVos, clears hurdle

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scheduled a procedural vote to end debate over the nomination of Betsy DeVos for secretary of education, The Hill reported.

A roll call vote was held early Friday morning to approve a motion to invoke cloture on her nomination.

McConnell needed a simple majority, or 51 votes, to end the debate and push her nomination to a full Senate vote early next week.

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Votes that early are rare. One was held before 7 a.m. Dec. 24, 2009, to push through the Affordable Care Act. It passed on a party-line vote of 60-39, The Hill reported.

The reason for the early votes is Senate rules that require 30 hours between a vote to end debate and a vote on final passage of a bill. 

By holding the vote early Friday morning, Republicans can confirm DeVos late Monday. 

Two Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), have said that they will vote against DeVos.

The motion to invoke cloture passed 52-48.

Many Americans have been vocal against DeVos' nomination. DeVos is a backer of school choice and charter school programs, The Associated Press reported.

Collins and Murkowski broke Republican ranks and said DeVos does not have the experience to lead the department. 

DeVos has been described as a billionaire Republican donor who has pushed for charter schools, The AP reported.

"She appears to view education through the lens of her experience promoting alternatives to public education in Detroit and other schools," Collins said.

"I have serious concerns about a nominee to be secretary of education who has been so involved on one side of the equation, so immersed in the push for vouchers that she may be unaware of what actually is successful within the public schools and also what is broken and how to fix them," Murkowski said.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he believes that DeVos will be approved as education secretary. "She is an unbelievably qualified educator and advocate for students, teachers (and) parents," Spicer said after Collins and Murkowski said they would oppose DeVos' nomination.

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