Kamala Harris breaks record for tie-breaking votes in the Senate – News21USA

Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday broke the century-old record for most tie-breaking votes cast by a vice president in the Senate, underscoring Democrats’ tenuous majority control and the deep polarization gripping Congress.

It was the latest piece of history made by Ms. Harris, a former senator from California and the first woman, Black and Asian American, to serve as vice president. On Tuesday she cast her 32nd tie-breaking vote, surpassing the previous record of 31 set nearly 200 years ago by John C. Calhoun, who was vice president from 1825 to 1832.

“Today is historic,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, said on the Senate floor after Harris cast her vote. “The record that Vice President Harris sets today is significant not only because of her numbers, but because of what she has made possible with the tie-breaking votes.”

Schumer presented Harris with a gold gavel to commemorate the milestone after she provided the 51st vote to move forward with the confirmation of Judge Loren AliKhan to the U.S. District Court in Washington. Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, broke with his party and voted to block the measure, leaving the chamber in a 50-50 tie and prompting Ms. Harris to intervene.

While Democrats and the White House celebrated the move, the occasion was the latest reminder of the deep polarization in Congress and Democrats’ narrow majority in the Senate that has forced Harris to provide the deciding vote more times in slightly less three years than any other vice president. With narrow margins of control in Congress and a substantial domestic agenda, Biden has relied on Harris to deliver the decisive votes to push through important legislation, including his sweeping pandemic relief plan and his sweeping health, climate and tax bill, the Inflation Reduction Law. .

Five of his tiebreakers advanced in the confirmation of federal judges.

The vice president acts as president of the Senate, giving her the constitutional power to break ties in the 100-member body. Since 1789, 300 tie-breaking votes have been cast. Former Vice President Mike Pence provided 13 tiebreakers while he was in office, and President Biden issued none while he served as vice president.

“It is fitting that Vice President Harris, the first woman, the first African American, and the first South Asian vice president-elect, has set a new standard and brought us into the 21st century,” said Democratic Representative James E. Clyburn. of South Carolina and Democratic deputy leader of the House of Representatives, said in a statement noting that Calhoun had been a leading defender of slavery. “This historic moment should serve as a monument to the important progress we have made under the Biden-Harris administration and a testament to this administration’s promise to deliver on behalf of the American people.”

Ms. Harris entered the chamber Tuesday afternoon wearing an emerald green pantsuit and shared a hug with her former colleague, Senator John Hickenlooper, Democrat of Colorado, who presided over the Senate, before they exchanged positions on the dais. and she gave her historic speech. vote.

She had hoped that last year’s election, which gave her party a 51-49 lead, would give her more room to carve her own path as vice president. Late last year, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona left the Democratic Party to become an independent, but she often still votes with Democrats. Harris has been forced to remain tied to Washington, never more than 24 hours from the Capitol when the Senate was in session in case her vote was needed.

“Every time duty has called, Vice President Harris has responded, more than any other vice president in our nation’s long and storied history,” Schumer said on the Senate floor as Harris presided Tuesday. “This is a great milestone and his is an even greater legacy.”

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