The confirmation of President Donald Trump’s education secretary nominee, Betsy DeVos, appears to be hanging by a thread.
Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) have indicated that they will vote oppose DeVos' confirmation.
Without the support of the two Republicans, the likelihood of DeVos’ confirmation becomes questionable.
According to the Washington Post, both senators have said they admire DeVos’s efforts to help at-risk children through her advocacy for school vouchers and charter schools, they are feel she doesn’t have the experience to lead the Department of Education because she has not worked in public schools, attended them or sent her children to them.
"I simply cannot support her confirmation," Collins said during remarks on the Senate floor.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 1, 2017
Murkowski echoed the sentiment in her own remarks on the Senate floor.
“I take very personally the success of Alaska’s schools and Alaska schoolchildren,” Murkowski said. “I believe that my colleagues here in the United States Senate and the many, many that they represent have the right to debate these questions.”
She said she struggled with the decision before deciding she would oppose DeVos' confirmation.
“I conclude my remarks to make clear that my colleagues know firmly that I do not intend to vote on final passage to support Mrs. DeVos to be secretary of education,” Murkowski said.
The Washington Post reports that if all of the 48 senators that caucus with Democrats vote against DeVos, and they are joined by both Collins and Murkowski, her the vote to confirm would be 50-50, assuming she earns the vote of every other Republican. In that case, Vice President Pence, who supports her confirmation, would likely cast a tie-breaking vote in her favor.
Although if Collins and Murkowski are joined by any other Republicans in voting no and she does not earn any Democratic votes, DeVos would not be confirmed.
Roll Call reported that in light of the increased risk to her confirmation, Republicans rushed to move DeVos' confirmation vote ahead of that for Sen. Jeff Session's confirmation vote for attorney general. Should the Alabama Republican be confirmed before DeVos, he would resign from his seat, and would not be able to vote for her.