For the first time in history, a president’s cabinet nomination has been confirmed by the vice president’s tiebreaking vote in the U.S. Senate. Democrats, including Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), narrowly failed to block the confirmation of school choice activist Betsy DeVos as education secretary.

U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill (left) and Roy Blunt (right)

“I’m confused. We just had an election. In my state, the reddest part of my state, are parts of my state where there are no private schools,” says McCaskill. “If the essence of this woman’s career is to take money out of public schools in rural communities and put them in private schools that will never exist in many of these communities, they are kicking in the shins the very voters that put them in power.”

Two Republicans voted with Democrats against DeVos’s confirmation – Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

“They are misreading this vote if they think rural America is going to forget that this woman wants to rob the public schools of rural America and put it in private schools in the cities which they will never be able to attend,” says McCaskill.

DeVos supporters say she will restore local control on education issues. In a statement from Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), he says DeVos understands that decisions about education need to be made much closer to where kids are.