Harris moves within six tie-breaking votes of nearly 200-year-old record
Vice President Harris cast her 25th tie-breaking vote Sunday by passing the anti-inflation bill, within six votes of the nearly two-century-old record set by former Vice President John Calhoun.
The constitution provides that the vice president also serves as president of the Senate and has the power to sever ties, which has happened with some regularity over the past year and a half given the 50-50 composition of the upper chamber.
Harris has cast more tiebreakers than almost any other vice president except for John Adams and Calhoun, who served from 1825 to 1832.
Calhoun has held a record 31 groundbreaking votes since serving as vice president under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. John Adams, who served as vice president under George Washington for nearly eight years, threw 29 tiebreakers.
However, Harris has cast more tiebreakers than Adams or Calhoun at the same times in their vice presidencies.
She has primarily severed ties to confirm President Biden's nominees, although she has also appeared on the Senate podium for other 50-50 splits, such as when she voted to start the debate on America's bailout plan.
Harris' role as a tie breaker came under the spotlight again on Sunday when she broke the tie to present a long-awaited $740 billion bill that includes provisions to raise corporate taxes, fight climate change, lower prescription costs medicines and to reduce the state deficit. Her vote was received with applause from the Chamber.
Passing the bill in the Senate initially required the support of all 50 Democrats, as all Republicans were united in opposition.
The Biden administration and Senate Democrat leadership had hoped last year to pass a major reconciliation package dubbed "Build Back Better," but the bill was doomed after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) refused had to support the package.
Manchin has been negotiating behind closed doors for the past few months over the scaled-down reconciliation package that passed the Senate on Sunday after winning the backing of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), the last Democrat holdup, this week.
The reconciliation package now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
How many times Harris will cast a crucial vote during the remainder of Biden's term in office will depend largely on the outcome of this year's Senate midterm elections.
Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has predicted a close race for the Senate majority.
"I think it's going to be very tight. We're a 50-50 nation. And I think when the smoke clears from this Senate race, we're probably still going to have a very, very tight Senate, easy on us or easy on the Democrats," McConnell said on Fox New's "special report" on Wednesday.
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John C Calhoun
7th Vice President of the United States
President of the United States since 2021
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