Two Republican senators are expected to vote against confirming Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Education Department, putting the prospective Cabinet member at risk of not passing the vote if one more GOP lawmaker joins them.
"I have heard from thousands, truly, thousands of Alaskans who have shared their concerns about Mrs. DeVos," Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said on Feb. 1, according to Politico. "I do not intend to vote on final passage to support Mrs. DeVos."
Both Murkowski and her constituents are troubled by "Mrs. DeVos's lack of experience with public education and the lack of knowledge that she portrayed in her confirmation hearing," the senator explained, notes The Wall Street Journal.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins joined Murkowski, saying she will also allow the nominee to pass to final voting stages but will ultimately oppose her.
"This is not a decision I make lightly," Collins said on the Senate floor. "I have a great deal of respect for Mrs. DeVos. I will not, can not vote to confirm her."
With all 48 Democrats in the Senate expected to vote in opposition of the controversial nominee's confirmation, DeVos needs a minimum of 51 votes -- a simple majority -- to officially join the Trump administration, with Vice President Mike Pence on standby to break a 50-vote tie, if necessary. With two of the 52 Republican senators out of the equation, DeVos will have no room for additional holdouts, even as a handful of conservative senators say that they have serious reservations about the GOP donor and charter school advocate who has no experience working in public schools.
"She has, no doubt, done valuable work," Collins said on the Senate floor, echoing the concerns of some of her fellow Republican senators, according to The Wall Street Journal. "Her concentration on charter schools and vouchers, however, raises the question about whether or not she fully appreciates that the secretary of education's primary focus must be on helping states and communities, parents, teachers, school board administrators, school board members and administrators strengthen our public schools."
Still, a senior Republican aide said that DeVos "has the votes and will be confirmed."