Kamala Sets Record For Tie-Breaking Votes

The fact that Democrats barely hold on to the majority and that Congress is deeply divided is highlighted by Kamala Harris’s historic break of the record for the most Senate tiebreakers cast by a vice president, who has stood for decades. On Tuesday, Harris broke the record established by John C. Calhoun, vice president from 1825 to 1832, almost two centuries ago, with her 32nd tiebreaking vote. Harris is the first African American, Asian American, and woman to hold that office. Harris stepped in because the Senate was deadlocked when West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin III voted against the measure, going against his party’s position.

This event served as a stark reminder of how partisan Congress is and the Democrats’ tenuous Senate majority, which has resulted in Harris casting the deciding vote more often in the last three years than any previous vice president. To pass his massive pandemic relief package and the Inflation Reduction Act, which addresses health, climate change, and taxes, Biden has depended on Harris for the deciding votes because of the narrow margins of power in Congress and his extensive domestic agenda. Federal judge confirmations were advanced by five of her tiebreaker votes.

As the Senate president, Harris has the constitutional authority to resolve tie votes among the Senate’s 100 members. Three hundred votes have been cast to break ties since 1789. During his time in office, former president Mike Pence cast thirteen tiebreaker votes, whereas former president Joe Biden did not. Harris, dressed in an emerald green pantsuit, walked into the chamber, embraced her former colleague, Colorado Democrat John Hickenlooper, and switched places on the dais before Harris delivered her historic vote.

Even though she and Biden both have popularity ratings in the low 30s, Harris is running for president again in 2024 as part of the re-election ticket that includes Biden. She has been vice president for over three years. In contrast, the popularity rating of Congress has dropped below 20% as per the poll tracker at FiveThirtyEight.