Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy admitted it is unlikely Democrats will succeed in blocking President Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary, Betsy DeVos.
Democrats have held the floor since Monday using an allotted 30-hour debate window to criticize Devos’s qualifications for the job.
“I think at this point it’s unlikely that we’re going to get the 51st vote, but we’re going to try until the last minute,” Murphy told CNN’s “New Day” Tuesday morning.
Two Republicans, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Maine Sen. Susan Collins oppose DeVos’s appointment to the post, but Democrats have been unable to find a third Republican to oppose DeVos to sink her nomination.
With both Collins and Murkowski siding with the Democrats, the current 50-50 tie will need to be broken by Vice President Mike Pence, who is expected to cast his vote in favor of DeVos. The vote to confirm DeVos is expected around noon, and the next cabinet nominee will be scheduled for a vote thereafter by the majority leader.
Other cabinet nominees waiting to be confirmed by the Senate include Steven Mnuchin for treasury secretary, Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general, and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt for EPA administrator. Recent presidents going back to Reagan have had at least nine of their cabinet nominees confirmed at this point, but Democrats continue to insist on further vetting of nominees.
“Up until the ’70s, it was pretty normal to confirm everyone in big batches without a ton of vetting,” [Former official U.S. Senate Historian Donald] Ritchie told The Washington Post. “The conventional wisdom was that a president should get deference to pick his team and that the new administration should be able to start running the government as soon as possible.”