I was sitting in Sen. Rob Portman’s office for a meeting when my phone started buzzing sporadically. I had noticed when I first walked in that the secretary at the desk was having a bit of an issue controlling all of the angry calls he was getting, but I didn’t understand why. When I glanced down at my phone, though, I understood.
While I was sitting in Sen. Portman’s office, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the Secretary of Education by Congress after Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie 51–50. This is the first time a vice president has been called upon to break a tie regarding the confirmation of a presidential appointment.
If you’ve been paying any attention to social media, it’s very clear why.
From the start, people were calling for a boycott of DeVos. After her Senate hearing, Democrats and Republicans alike were quick to point out her lack of experience and clear flaws in understanding how public education works. When asked about the Individuals with Disabilities Act, DeVos was, quite frankly, clueless. Educators and students took to social media to protest, and many called their senators to beg them to deny her confirmation.
None of that worked. That’s the issue.
In the case of a tie, the law says that the vice president has the right to break it. However, whether or not this should be allowed is debatable. Especially in instances like this. When the public has clearly demonstrated a serious concern against anything, and Congress is moved to a gridlock, the logical solution would be to send the issue at hand back to committee.
That would be democratic and maintain the balance of power. What happened, however, is not democratic.
An example of this suggestion is in use today in the American court system. If the Supreme Court decides on a tie, then the law immediately goes back to the decision made by the previous court.
In the case of DeVos, this is a direct infringement on the balance of power. It gives the Trump administration the ability to push legislation through Congress despite the fact that the people are clearly against it — especially since it’s the administration’s own personnel.
The fact of the matter is that the Trump administration literally just confirmed their own confirmation. That simply isn’t right. It defeats the entire purpose of the process.
Not only is the DeVos confirmation just another example of the Trump administration overreach, it also proves that, once again, Trump will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. Even if it’s clearly against the will of the common people.
And, If you were wondering, Portman did vote to confirm DeVos. Just keep that in mind the next time you vote.