The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Betsy DeVos as Education secretary, needing an unprecedented tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence to push through the divisive nomination.
The Senate vote on President Donald Trump's choice ended in a 50-50 tie. Pence then became the first vice president to break a Senate stalemate in a Cabinet confirmation vote. Republicans hold 52 seats in the chamber, but two moderate GOP senators voted against DeVos amid a flurry of constituent complaints, forcing the move.
Democrats protested DeVos on the Senate floor through the night in a last-minute bid to block confirmation, following demonstrations from teachers around the country. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were the only Senate Republicans to oppose DeVos. Democrats needed one more defector to block the nomination.
DeVos is the wife of, Richard Marvin DeVos Jr., whose billionaire father co-founded Amway.
While the vote was largely along party lines, school choice, which DeVos backs, enjoys support in red and blue states. Critics have raised concerns that she could undermine public schools, which many senators said she did not understand after her confirmation hearing.