Vice President Kamala Harris broke a nearly 200-year-old record on Tuesday. Her historic deed? Casting the most tiebreaking votes in the Senate.
Harris has been busy this season. Before Tuesday’s vote, she filled in for President Joe Biden in the Middle East. She traveled on Friday for a brief Saturday meeting. The Vice President spent barely 24 hours on the ground in Dubai. That’s less time than it took for a round-trip flight to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from Washington, D.C.!
The second-in-command was in the UAE to discuss a pair of decades-long White House challenges: the environment and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Just days after returning to the United States, Congress summoned Harris to break a tied vote. Her 32nd tiebreak confirmed a new federal judge in Washington, D.C. Harris beamed as she made history from the Senate platform.
The Senate is closely divided between Democrats and Republicans. So Harris has been repeatedly called to decide deadlocks.
Casting tiebreaker votes is among the few constitutional duties for vice presidents. Another important one? Presiding over the receipt and counting of electoral ballots in presidential elections.
The previous tiebreak recordholder was Vice President John C. Calhoun. He cast 31 tiebreaking votes during his eight years as VP from 1825 to 1832. Harris tied Calhoun’s record in July.
The pace of Harris’ votes slowed this year when Democrats expanded their slim majority in the Senate by a single seat. But she still managed to pass Calhoun’s record in less than half the time that he took to set it.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer from New York called Harris’ 32nd vote a “great milestone.” He presented Harris with a golden gavel after the tiebreaker. The Vice President said she was “truly honored.”
Most of Harris’ votes have involved President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees. On Tuesday, she boosted Loren AliKhan’s nomination to U.S. District Court judge.
Schumer credited Harris with helping to confirm more women and people of color to the bench. He says that makes the judiciary “look more like America.”
Harris returned to Capitol Hill later on Tuesday to cast her 33rd tiebreaking vote, securing the judge’s confirmation.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. — Colossians 3:23