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National Govt & Politics
Vice President breaks tie as GOP pushes ahead on Trump Cabinet
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Vice President breaks tie as GOP pushes ahead on Trump Cabinet

Vice President breaks tie as GOP pushes ahead on Trump Cabinet
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Vice President breaks tie as GOP pushes ahead on Trump Cabinet

Vice President Mike Pence made history on Tuesday, casting the first tie breaking vote in the U.S. Senate to help confirm a Cabinet nominee, as the Senate voted 51-50 to approve President Trump's pick for Education Secretary over the strong objections of Democrats.

"It's not Democrats who are bitter about the election," said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. "It's the American people who are bitter about the nomination of Betsy DeVos."

Democrats had kept the Senate in all night to make their arguments against DeVos, mainly zeroing in on her lack of experience with public education.

"Betsy DeVos called traditional public education a dead end," said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who blasted DeVos as "someone who has never worked in a public school, never gone to a public school, never been a parent of somebody in a public school."

But Democrats were unable to get one more vote to sink the DeVos nomination; Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) were the only two Republicans to break ranks and vote against DeVos.

Jamie Dupree
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Jamie Dupree

And when the vote ended in a tie, Vice President Mike Pence took the chair to cast a historic tie-breaking vote.

"On this vote, the Yeas are 50, the Nays are 50; the Senate being equally divided, the Vice President votes in the affirmative, and the nomination is confirmed," Pence announced.

It was the first tie-breaking vote cast by a Vice President since Dick Cheney; Joe Biden never had that opportunity during his eight years in office.

"I congratulate Betsy DeVos on her confirmation as our nation’s next Secretary of Education," said former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. "The President made an excellent choice to lead the Department of Education."

Republicans ready to move on other top Trump nominees

With the DeVos nomination out of the way, Republicans signaled they will move on to other major nominations of President Trump, moving first to the choice of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for Attorney General.

A final vote on Sessions could come by late on Wednesday; then the Senate is expected to move on to nominations for the Department of Health and Human Services and the Treasury Department.

Here is what the rest of the week might look like:

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • The four high-profile liberal Democratic congresswomen targeted by President Donald Trump this weekend on social media responded Monday afternoon in a news conference, calling Trump’s tweets “xenophobic, bigoted remarks.” >> Read more trending news Democratic Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts), Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) responded to Trump’s attack that they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came,” by calling for Trump’s impeachment. Trump’s comments were “a disrupted distraction,” Pressley said. She said she wants to focus on the issues her constituents sent her to Washington to address, such as immigration reform and health care, but she said it was important to respond to the president. Calling Trump “callous” and “corrupt,” Pressley said that despite the “occupant of the White House trying to marginalize us, we cannot, we will not be silent.”  “I will always refer to him as the occupant as he is only occupying space.” Omar called Trump’s remarks “a blatantly racist attack on four duly elected members” of Congress, all women of color. “This is the agenda of white nationalists. Whether it is happening in chat rooms, or it is happening on national TV, and now it’s reached the White House garden,” she said. She agreed with Pressley, calling for Trump’s impeachment. The lawmakers took several questions at the end of their statements. Three of the lawmakers were born in the United States. Omar, who was born in Somalia and came to the U.S. when she was 12 and is now an American citizen, was asked to reply to Trump’s accusation that she’s a communist and supports al Qaeda. “I will not dignify that with an answer,” she said. Trump tweeted during the news conference, saying Democrats were “forced to embrace them,” apparently referencing the party’s support of the lawmakers he attacked. “The Dems were trying to distance themselves from the four “progressives,” but now they are forced to embrace them. That means they are endorsing Socialism, hate of Israel and the USA! Not good for the Democrats!” Trump said. The House plans to introduce a resolution this week condemning the president’s attacks. Trump doubled down this morning on his remarks about the four Congresswomen, telling reporters gathered at the White House that criticism of his comments 'doesn't concern me because many people agree with me.' He said Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, Omar and Pressley are 'very unhappy' and 'hate our country.' 'I'm watching them – all they do is complain,' Trump said. 'So, all I'm saying is, if they want to leave, they can leave.
  • A little boy was supposed to be celebrating turning 6 but instead had to watch as his home went up in flames hours before his birthday party. But firefighters from Buffalo Fire Department's Engine 33 made sure Erick Hill had a glimmer of hope days after he and his family lost everything, including the child's birthday presents.  >> Read more trending news  'I come back from Party City to the house up in flames,' Jamia Jones told WGRZ. That was on Thursday. By Sunday, firefighters threw the boy a party. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 'We decided to get together, throw him a birthday party, shower him with a lot of gifts, invite his family here and show him that there is a second family out there that he can rely on,' Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo told WGRZ. And did the firefighters deliver!  According to a Facebook post from Buffalo Professional Fighterfighers Local 282, Bryan Matteson from Ladder 6, 4th Platoon made Erick a toy box. They also got Erick a cake and invited a few superheroes to stop by the celebration. Erick was also named an honorary member of Engine 33 and can stop by the fire station any time he wants, WGRZ reported.
  • K9 Falco passed away on Sunday. The nine year old German Shepard served the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for nearly eight years. OCSO announced his death “just shy of his tenth birthday.” A video posted Monday morning shows deputies in uniform, saluting K9 Falco as he is brought to Underhill Animal Hospital: Tributes to K9 Falco are getting attention on Facebook and Twitter: In a statement, OCSO said that K9 Falco passed away during the night after showing signs of distress.
  • House Democrats plan to introduce a resolution this week condemning President Donald Trump after he attacked four high-profile liberal Democratic congresswomen of color over the weekend, saying they should 'go back' to the countries they came from, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news  In a letter sent Monday to fellow Democrats and obtained by Politico, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump 'went beyond his own low standards using disgraceful language' in his attacks on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA). She called the president's comments 'xenophobic' and said they were 'meant to divide our nation.' 'This morning, the President doubled down on his attack on our four colleagues, suggesting they apologize to him,' she wrote. 'Let me be clear, our Caucus will continue to forcefully respond to these disgusting attacks.' Pelosi said the resolution will be sponsored by Polish-born Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD). >> Read the latest from our Washington Insider, Jamie Dupree  The president brushed off criticism Monday, telling reporters gathered at the White House that condemnation of his tweets 'doesn't concern me because many people agree with me.' He said Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, Omar and Pressley are 'very unhappy' and 'hate our country.' 'I'm watching them – all they do is complain,' Trump said. 'So, all I'm saying is, if they want to leave, they can leave.' Trump set off a firestorm Sunday with a series of tweets attacking the freshmen congresswomen without naming them. 'So interesting to see 'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly an viciously telling people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run,' Trump wrote. 'Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.' Of the congresswomen targeted in Trump's tweets, only one, Omar, was born outside the U.S. Omar was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, according to The Washington Post. Her family fled civil war in the country when she was a child, and she became a U.S. citizen when she was a teenager, the newspaper reported. Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York, Tlaib was born in Detroit and Omar was born in Cincinnati, according to the Post. It's not the first time Trump has been accused of holding racist views. In his campaign kickoff in June 2015, Trump deemed many Mexican immigrants “rapists.” In 2017, he said there were good people on “both sides” of the clash in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white supremacists and anti-racist demonstrators that left one demonstrator dead. Repeatedly, Trump has painted arriving immigrants as an “infestation,” and he has been slow in condemning acts of violence committed by white supremacists. He also launched his political career with false claims that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • State corrections officials are investigating after a video posted to YouTube shows a group of officers beating an inmate on the lawn of a Lake County prison. The video was shot by an unidentified inmate who says in the background, 'this is why we're in fear of our life.' He identified some of the officers at Lake Correctional Institution by name and rank.  App users, see YouTube video HERE. Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch said in a statement Saturday night that the video was 'deeply disturbing' and that their inspector general's office had launched an investigation.  Inch said the officers involved in the incident 'have been taken out of contact with inmates' and will not return to full duty until an investigation is completed. He said those found participating in abuse could face administrative and criminal charges.  He said the inmate will be relocated to another facility.

Washington Insider

  • As President Donald Trump on Monday intensified his criticism of a group of more liberal Democratic women lawmakers in Congress, Democrats announced they would bring a resolution to the House floor this week to condemn the President's weekend tweets, in which he said the group of minority women members should 'go back' to the countries they 'originally came from.' 'The House cannot allow the President’s characterization of immigrants to our country to stand,' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to fellow Democrats.  'Our Republican colleagues must join us in condemning the President’s xenophobic tweets,' Pelosi added. At the White House, the President stood by his criticism. “If you're not happy here, then you can leave,” Mr. Trump told reporters. The Speaker's announcement came as a handful of GOP lawmakers publicly criticized President Trump's tweets, which targeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA). 'Those tweets are racist and xenophobic,' Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) said on CNN. 'President Trump was wrong to suggest that four left-wing congresswomen should go back to where they came from,' said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) in a written statement. 'I urge our President immediately disavow his comments,' said Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX). 'Frankly I’m appalled by the President's tweets,' said Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI). 'There’s no excuse.' Returning to Capitol Hill for the legislative work week, Democrats were furious. 'Donald Trump's bigoted attacks over the weekend were intended to divide this country,' said Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV). 'Another vile, racist attack from the President,' said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ). But none of that slowed Mr. Trump. “These are people that hate our country,” the President said, as a crowd outside the White House cheered his comments. One Democrat, Rep. Al Green of Texas, announced that he would file articles of impeachment against the President - based just on his weekend tweets.  “I will again, this month, bring impeachment to a vote on the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for bigotry in policy, harmful to our society,” Green said.