>> On this vote the yays are 50. The nays are 50.>> President Trump's most controversial Cabinet pick squeaking through the Senate with an assist from Vice President Pence.>> The Vice President votes in the affirmative and the nomination Is confirmed.>> I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington where billionaire Betsy DeVos is now headed to the education department, narrowly winning senate confirmation despite the determined opposition of half of the chamber's lawmakers who said she was simply not qualified for the job.
Republicans rolling out Vice President Mike Pence to cast the tie breaking vote. The Senate hasn't rejected any President's nominee since 1989 and Republicans were not about to let that happen today.>> These nominees are gonna have tremendous, tremendous effect.>> Democrats have tried every trick in the book to slow down the confirmation process, but they haven't been able to derail any of Trump's nominees.
DeVos was their best chance to claim a scalp. The autoparts heiress has spent millions of dollars advocating for charter schools and other alternatives to the traditional public school system, but she's never worked as a teacher, or served in a schools board. Her lack of experience of paparent at her confirmation hearing when she fumbled questions about a special education and guns and schools.
>> You can't say definitely today that guns shouldn't be in schools?>> I think probably they're. I would've imagine that there is probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies.>> That prompted two republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Merkowski of Alaska to say they would vote against DeVos.
Democrats united in opposition and opponents flooded the phone lines of the capital but the other 50 Republicans holding firm. DeVos has been a big donor to the party. And her ideas about education are widely shared by conservatives. With the chamber locked in stalemate, Pence casting the tie breaking vote for DeVos.
The first time that has ever happened on a confirmation vote. So Democrats fell short this time, and they're likely to fall short on other confirmation votes to come. Steven Mnuchin at Treasury, Tom Price for Health Secretary, and Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. Still, Democrats saying the fight wasn't in vain.
They're arguing that DeVos has been bloodied by the confirmation fight, and that she'll have a harder time as Education Secretary, enacting the dramatic reforms that she has long championed.