On Friday, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labour and Pensions postponed the confirmation vote on Betsy DeVos as secretary of education.
Originally set to take place on January 24, the committee delayed the vote one week to January 31, citing the need for more time to review DeVos’ financial disclosures.
The postponement comes after a contentious confirmation hearing for the billionaire Republican donor, which featured heated partisan debate from Senate Democrats.
DeVos was grilled on a number of issues, oftentimes demurring on answers, or stating she was currently unable to provide a response.
Still, the delay in the confirmation vote does not signal any increased likelihood that DeVos won’t be confirmed, according to some education policy experts. “Ms. DeVos will be confirmed but not without strong Democratic opposition,” Georgetown professor Stephen J. Wayne told Business Insider.
“It is very difficult to reject a cabinet appointee when the president’s party controls the Senate. Partisan voting patterns are so strong, and the minority can no longer use the filibuster to stop a nomination,” Wayne continued.
Similarly, Paul Reville, a professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, believes DeVos will be confirmed as secretary of education.
“I didn’t see any evidence in the hearings that would indicate that the votes just won’t fall along partisan lines here, in which case the nomination will carry forward and she could expect a similar kind of vote in the legislature as a whole,” Reville told Business Insider.
If history has any bearing, DeVos need not worry about passing through the confirmation process.
“In 228 years of the executive branch, the Senate has outright rejected only nine Cabinet nominations, while 11 were withdrawn or not acted on by the Senate,” Business Insider’s Rebecca Harrington reported.
The last cabinet nominee to be formally rejected was Senator John Tower, George H.W. Bush’s pick for secretary of defence, in 1989.
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