Harris hopes to avoid tie-breaking votes

Published January 19, 2021, 4:42 PM

by Bloomberg

One of the few duties of the vice president spelled out in the Constitution is breaking ties in the Senate, but Vice President-elect Kamala Harris hopes she doesn’t have to do it much.

US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (Photo by Eric BARADAT / AFP / File photo)

In an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle published Monday, the vice president-elect noted that there have been only 268 tie-breaking votes cast by a vice president in history.

“I intend to work tirelessly as your Vice President, including, if necessary, fulfilling this Constitutional duty,” she wrote. “At the same time, it is my hope that rather than come to the point of a tie, the Senate will instead find common ground and do the work of the American people.”

The Senate will be evenly divided, 50-50, between Democrats and Republicans after Georgia’s new senators, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, are sworn in this week. That means one of Harris’ first duties as vice president will be to break the tie to put Democrats in charge of the upper chamber.

Harris officially resigned from the Senate Monday, and will be replaced by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who will be the state’s first Hispanic senator.

Vice President Mike Pence cast 13 tie-breaking votes in office, including confirming several judges and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. But Biden cast no tie-breakers during his time as vice president.