GOP pushes back final DeVos vote until next week

Victoria Sarno Jordan

Senate Republicans are postponing a final vote on controversial Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos until Monday or Tuesday.

Senior Republican aides acknowledged there will be an “attendance issue” preventing a vote from happening Saturday, but said it has nothing to do with the GOP fundraising treat a group of senators plan to attend starting Friday in Florida.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee’s (NRSC) fundraising event this weekend is at The Breakers hotel in Palm Beach.

The Senate is expected to vote at 6:30 a.m. Friday morning to end a Democratic filibuster of DeVos and advance her nomination to final vote. Leadership could bring up a final vote as soon as Saturday if they wanted, as Senate rules usually require 30 hours to elapse after a filibuster-ending cloture vote.

But the final confirmation vote will be pushed into next week, freeing up GOP senators to meet with donors at the luxury hotel, where a guest room with a view of the ocean costs $699 a night.

{mosads}Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (Texas) said Thursday afternoon that he expected a vote Monday but later revised his estimate, telling reporters that Tuesday is also a possibility.

Timing on the final vote will depend on whether Republicans will be able to run all the required procedural time off the clock on Friday and Monday. Democrats are vowing to make it as difficult as possible.

Two senior GOP aides said NRSC Chairman Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) was willing to reschedule the retreat, and the attendance problem preventing a Saturday vote is due to a senator who has a “family issue.”

Two centrist GOP senators, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), on Wednesday announced they will oppose DeVos, putting her nomination on the brink.

If every other Senate Republican backed DeVos, it would create a 50-50 tied vote that would let Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie breaking vote to confirm her. Liberal groups are pressuring other centrist Republicans that they hope could flip and cast the deciding vote against DeVos.

The NRSC’s “Majority Makers” retreat will begin Friday with a 5:30 p.m. reception. Guests will sit down for intimate dinners with individual senators starting at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, guests will have the opportunity to participate in panel discussions with senators starting at 9:30 a.m. An afternoon golf tournament is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. The weather will be perfect for the occasion, 79 degrees and mostly sunny.

Guests will have the opportunity to have dinner with individual senators again on Saturday evening, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. They had the chance to request dinners with particular senators on either Friday or Saturday evening.

The event is open to political action committees that contribute $15,000 and individuals who give at least $5,000 to NRSC programs.

An NRSC spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

Tags Cory Gardner John Cornyn Lisa Murkowski Mike Pence Susan Collins
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