History Behind Kamala Harris Tiebreaking Vote Record

History Behind Kamala Harris Tiebreaking Vote Record

Kamala Harris made history again by matching the record for most tie-breaking votes in the Upper House.

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History Behind Kamala Harris Tie Breaking Vote Record

United States Vice President Kamala Harris set another record matching the 191-year-old for making the most tie-breaking votes in the Senate.

Harris, 58, who made history as the first woman of color to serve Vice-President since 2020, advanced her 31st vote on Wednesday to back the nomination of Indian-origin Kalpana Kotagal to be a federal agency member.

The record had been held by South Carolina‘s Senator John C. Calhoun, who served as Vice President to John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson from 1825 – 1832 and made 31 tie-breaking votes in almost eight years.

On the other hand, Harris matched his record in two and a half years because of what scholars noted as “bitterly entrenched and divisive politics of the two-party system.”

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The tie-breaking law comes from the U.S. Constitution Article 1, Section 3, which states, “The Vice President of the U. S. shall be President of the Senate but shall have no Vote, unless they are equally divided,” meaning the Vice President can only vote in case of a tie or deadlock in the upper house. In the current 118th Congress, Democrats hold 51 seats, and Republicans have 49 seats.

Scholar of the Vice Presidency, Joel K. Goldstein said, “Harris has a high number of tie-breaking votes due to a combination of factors – a closely divided Senate, the polarization of our politics, and the change in the filibuster rule so that it no longer takes 60 votes to bring an appointment to the floor. It only takes 50, but you need 51 to confirm an appointment.”

History Behind Kamala Harris Tie breaking Vote Record

Harris ties breaking vote nominated Kalpana Kotagal to become a member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is responsible for enforcing federal laws making it illegal to discriminate against a job employee or an applicant on the basis of a person’s race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, disability or genetic information.

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Kotagal, a daughter of immigrants from India, is a diversity, equity, and inclusion expert. She is a partner at Cohen Milstein and a member of the firm’s Civil Rights and Employment practice group. She is also a co-chair of the firm’s Hiring and Diversity Committee and co-author of the seminal legal template ‘Inclusion Rider.’

Interestingly, Harris is not the only member of this White House to hold a tie-breaking record. U.S. President Joe Biden holds a record of not casting a single tie-breaking vote when he served as Vice-President under Barack Obama.

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Additionally, twelve other Vice Presidents served without ever casting a Senate vote. But Biden is the only one who served two full terms without casting a tie-breaking vote as a Vice-President.

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William Smith

William Smith is a dynamic editor at World-Wire, covering a wide range of topics including health, technology, travel, and events. Known for his ability to simplify complex subjects, he engages readers with his insightful FAQs and articles. His diverse expertise has earned him accolades, including the "Excellence in Diverse Journalism" award in 2022.

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