President Donald Trump’s choice of billionaire Betsy DeVos to be education secretary was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, but only after Vice President Mike Pence was called in to break a tie that threatened to defeat her.
The tie-breaking vote, which Senate officials said was unprecedented to confirm a Cabinet nominee, followed an all-night debate on DeVos as Senate Democrats tried to pressure at least one more Republican to oppose her and defeat the nomination, reports Reuters.
Only two Republicans joined the 46 Democrats and two independents in opposition to DeVos. Critics have called her unprepared to lead the Department of Education after a rocky Senate confirmation hearing.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer immediately derided the proceeding.
“This cabinet nom is so unqualified, so divisive, that @MikePenceVP had to drive down Pennsylvania Ave to cast the deciding vote,” he wrote in a Twitter post after the vote.
Under the U.S. Constitution, the vice president also serves as president of the Senate, with the power to cast votes only when there are ties on nominations or legislation.
Republican Trump tweeted his congratulations to the nominee and Pence praised her. “Today’s vote to confirm Education Secretary @BetsyDeVos was a vote for every child having a chance at a world-class education,” the vice president wrote in a Twitter post.