The U.S. Senate may be more divided than ever before, and some of those divisions are exposed in Montana. Yesterday, Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Department of Education, was trapped in a confirmation vote tie in the senate. Meanwhile, Montana Democrats railed against Senator Steve Daines for supporting DeVos

“Senator Steve Daines just sold out Montana teachers and public school students for $70,000 in campaign cash,” said Nancy Keenan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. “Our public schools are the heartbeat of our Montana communities, large and small, and they deserve our full support. Today Daines sided with big out-of-state donors over the thousands of Montanans who have been flooding his office with calls and emails."

Montana Senator Jon Tester voted with the rest of Senate Democrats in opposing DeVos, while Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen seemed hopeful and eager for a change.

“I am optimistic for change at the U.S Department of Education. I look forward to working with Secretary DeVos and I will be inviting her to visit Montana’s public schools to understand the importance of local control, as well as the unique challenges and opportunities that frontier schools face. I have consistently said that Montana will have a strong voice at the federal level on education policy.”

Devos was eventually confirmed after a historic tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence. This is the first time in U.S. history that the vice-president has been able to cast the final vote on a senate confirmation. Former vice president Joe Biden was one of just a few vice presidents that never cast any tie-breakers at all.

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