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 Mike Pence when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2021. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)

Comments have not been enabled for this article.

Follow the topics in this article