Kamala Harris equals record of tie-breaking votes in Senate

Kamala Harris cast 31 tiebreaker votes in the U.S. Senate within two and a half years of her vice presidency.

US Vice President Kamala Harris became the first woman and person of colour in history to equal the record of tie-breaking votes in the Senate on July 12.

She matched a 191-year-old record set by John C. Calhoun, of casting tiebreaking votes as a VP when she backed the nomination of Indian-origin Kalpana Kotagal, a diversity, equity, and inclusion expert, to serve as a member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Calhoun cast 31 tiebreaking votes during his two-term vice presidency between 1825-1832. Harris matched his record in two and a half years since assuming the role of VP.

Explaining the reason behind the high number of tiebreaking votes cast by Harris, Joel K. Goldstein, scholar of the vice presidency said it was 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,” the TIME report quoted him as saying.

Like Harris, President Joe Biden holds a tiebreaking record as well, for not casting a single tiebreaking vote. Biden is the only two-term VP in U.S. history to not cast a tiebreaking vote.

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