Kamala Harris Breaks 191-Year-Old Record For The Most Tiebreaking Votes Ever Cast By A Vice President

by Gee NY

Earlier this month, Vice President Kamala Harris quietly made history by surpassing a 191-year-old record set by John C. Calhoun for the most tiebreaking votes cast by a vice president.

Harris’ 32 decisive votes included critical legislation such as the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and the groundbreaking Inflation Reduction Act.

The American Rescue Plan, passed with Harris’s tiebreaking vote, provided extensive pandemic relief, including support for businesses and individuals, vaccine and testing assistance, $1,400 checks to taxpayers, and extended unemployment insurance.

Another significant tiebreaker was Harris’s vote ensuring the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest federal investment in combating climate change, reducing insulin costs for seniors, and capping prescription drug costs.

Harris’ role extended beyond legislative matters to advancing judicial nominations. Five of her tiebreaking votes contributed to a record number of women and people of color taking up roles in the judiciary, culminating in the confirmation of the 161st Biden judge.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer commended Harris’s achievements, hailing them as a “record-breaking milestone” and presenting her with a ceremonial golden gavel.

This comes as a stark contrast to the previous record-holder, John C. Calhoun, a staunch segregationist whose legacy was rooted in advocating for slavery.

In an opinion piece by John Kenneth White, a professor of politics at The Catholic University of America, he notes that the irony of Harris shattering Calhoun’s record was noted by Rep. James Clyburn.


Clyburn noted that Harris, as the first woman, first Black American, and first South Asian American vice president, has set a new standard, bringing the role into the 21st century.

While the vice presidency traditionally holds few constitutional responsibilities, Harris’s strategic use of tiebreaking votes has redefined the role.

The era of partisan polarization has increased the frequency of vice presidential tiebreakers, with Harris surpassing Calhoun’s eight-year record in just two years.

This development underscores the changing perception of the vice presidency. Historically viewed as an insignificant office, recent vice presidents, including Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, have wielded considerable influence in critical decision-making processes.

Harris’s record-breaking tenure as vice president also positions her as a potential presidential candidate in 2028, following a trend where the vice presidency serves as a stepping stone to winning a party’s presidential nomination.

As the Kamala Harris vice presidency unfolds, her numerous tiebreaking votes have already etched a significant chapter in the historic narrative of the office.

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