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Trump Education Secretary Pick Moves Closer to Confirmation

Education secretary-designate Betsy DeVos testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 17, 2017, at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

The U.S. Senate voted early Friday on a procedural move that will allow President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, to move on to a confirmation vote next week.

The Senate voted 52-48 to end the debate on DeVos at 6:30 a.m. EST Friday, an unusually early start time, and amid fierce opposition from Democrats.

Just before the vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took the floor to say he thought DeVos to be “one of the worst nominees” that has ever been voted on by the Senate.

Schumer has said he will vote against all of Trump’s nominees, and other Democrats have criticized DeVos for being an out-of-touch billionaire and a staunch advocate for charter schools.

Trump has called DeVos “a brilliant and passionate education advocate” and said she will reform the U.S. school system while breaking up “the bureaucracy that is holding our children back.”

The Senate is currently made up of 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats. Two Republican Senators, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, have said they will vote against DeVos’s nomination, in which case the outcome would be a tie.

Vice President Mike Pence would step in at that point to break the tie in favor of DeVos’s nomination.

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