There’s a 50-50 tie in the Senate over the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, according to the information we have.
It will only take one more “no” vote to kill the nomination. The problem DeVos opponents are having is that they already exhausted the only two obvious GOP flippers – Sen. Collins of Maine and Sen. Murkowski of Alaska.
Activists, bloggers and reporters spent much of yesterday trying to identify that last potential swing vote, only to be denied time and again.
Flake of Arizona! Nope.
Gardner of Colorado! Nope.
Moran of Kansas! Nope.
Heller of Nevada! Nope.
Portman of Ohio! Nope.
Toomey of Pennsylvania! Nope.
Capito of West Virginia! Nope.
Barring a stunning reversal, all hope seems to rest on Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska.
Fischer won the open seat vacated by Ben Nelson, of Cornhusker Kickback fame. She has more public education experience than the nominee, having served on various commissions and boards, as well as president of the board of directors for the Nebraska Association of School Boards. But the list of 12 priority issues on her official website does not include education.
Fischer received a “C” on the National Education Association’s latest legislative report card, which is a high mark for a Republican. On the other hand, she got on the wrong side of Lady Gaga.
No doubt her office is being deluged as I write this, but if any of it is from within the state it is of very recent vintage. The last two issues of the Nebraska State Education Association newsletter don’t even mention DeVos, and there is no call to arms on the NSEA website.
The nomination is on the thinnest of thin ice, but betting the farm on Nebraska sounds like a longshot. Unless DeVos starts kicking puppies in the next two days, we will avoid having to go through all this again with Michelle Rhee.
UPDATE: Fischer shuts the barn door.
My statement on Betsy DeVos: pic.twitter.com/LopDmk48Lo
— Senator Deb Fischer (@SenatorFischer) February 2, 2017