(UnitedVoice.com) – The Senate is almost evenly divided. Republicans control 49 seats, Democrats have 48 seats, and there are three Independents who caucus with Democrats. That puts Vice President Kamala Harris in the position to break a lot of ties.
On December 5, Harris, who serves as the president of the Senate, voted with Democrats and broke the 33rd tie since the beginning of President Joe Biden’s administration. The vote to advance the nomination of Loren L. AliKhan, a nominee for the US District Court of DC, broke a tiebreaking record set by former Vice President John C. Calhoun. He set the record of 31 tiebreaking votes in 1832.
After Harris cast the vote, The Hill reported Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he and the rest of the Senate wanted to thank Harris “for her leadership and for making the work of the Senate possible.” He went on to say that she has been present “[e]very time duty has called.” After he concluded his remarks, the Senate leader gave Harris a golden gavel to commemorate the achievement.
Harris said she was “truly honored” to be in the position to break the ties. She then mentioned how proud she was of some of the tiebreaking votes, like the one for the Inflation Reduction Act and to advance judicial nominees, many of which have been of women and people of color.
As of December 5, vice presidents have cast 301 tiebreaking votes. The first such occurrence was cast by former President John Adams while he was serving as vice president on July 18, 1789. Former Vice President Mike Pence only broke 13 ties while he served in the role. Shockingly, President Joe Biden did not cast a single tiebreaking vote during the entire eight years he served as vice president.
Given how closely divided the Senate is, Harris might have many more opportunities to put her tiebreaking votes to use.
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