Listen to this article
That was close.
US President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the federal Department of Education squeaked through a vote on final confirmation on Tuesday, with Vice-President Mike Pence delivering what is believed to be the first-ever tie-breaking vote on a cabinet nominee.
Betsy DeVos, a billionaire philanthropist whose bumpy performance during her confirmation hearing drew fierce criticism from opponents, was confirmed by a final vote of 51-50, with Mr Pence arriving to cast the deciding vote after senators deadlocked 50-50.
Two Republican senators had previously vowed to break ranks with their party and vote against Ms DeVos. With the confirmation, the path has now been cleared for a vote on Mr Trump’s attorney general nominee, Jeff Sessions, a Republican senator from Alabama, consideration of whom was delayed by Republican lawmakers so he could vote for Ms DeVos before giving up his seat.
Get alerts on US when a new story is published