Two Republican senators - Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska - have said they will vote against her, meaning the Senate is split 50-50 on her nomination if the rest of those voting do so along party lines as expected.
In a statement released later Thursday, Lankford said, "I will support Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary for one main reason - she has expressed her absolute commitment to transfer more control of education policy from Washington DC to states, parents, and local leaders".
Democrats have lined up to oppose DeVos, a polarizing figure in MI who for decades has advocated and financially backed movements supporting charter schools and voucher programs which critics say rob funding from more traditional public schools.
"She is an unbelievable, remarkable woman who has fought very hard to improve our nation's education system and to make sure that schools are serving children", White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Friday.
Susan Collins of ME and Alaska's Lisa Murkowski are the first Republicans to vote against one of President Trump's Cabinet picks.
Vice President Mike Pence would step in at that point to break the tie in favor of DeVos's nomination. The wealthy Republican donor has been denounced by Democrats - and now two Republicans - who have slammed her credentials. "PEPLT007788-topic.html" class="local_link" >Bob Casey, who joined fellow Democrats in opposing DeVos in Friday's vote, also was swamped with messages. The Senate vote on Mrs. DeVos was the earliest to take place since the new Congress reconvened after the November election. A final confirmation vote is expected early next week.
"I can not express the level of shock and just sadness that Sen. I would not advise yet that she count on my vote".
"I do not intend to vote on final passage to support Ms Devos to be secretary of Education", she said.
Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas said he had "serious concerns" about Department of Education nominee Betsy DeVos, but that she'd addressed them to his satisfaction after they met. However, DeVos is the only Cabinet pick who is in danger of not eventually being confirmed due to party defections.
Two Republican senators have also vowed to vote against DeVos.
"Betsy DeVos is committed to privatizing public schools, and diverting public funds into private taxpayer-funded vouchers that would leave far too many students behind", Murray said.