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Harris moves into second place for most Senate tiebreaking votes in history

Vice President Harris now has the second-highest number of tiebreaking votes in the history of the Senate after she voted on a judicial nominee Wednesday. 

Harris cast the tiebreaking vote to invoke cloture and end debate on the nomination of Natasha Merle to become a U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of New York. Merle was confirmed by the Senate in a subsequent vote that did not require Harris to break a tie. 

The tiebreaking vote that Harris cast was the 30th of her tenure as vice president — through which she also serves as president of the Senate — and is responsible for casting a deciding vote when the chamber is evenly split on a vote.

The vote moved Harris into second place for the greatest number of deciding votes behind former Vice President John C. Calhoun. Calhoun cast 31 tiebreaking voted during the roughly seven years he served for former Presidents John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. 

Harris surpassed John Adams for the second most spot with her vote Wednesday. Adams cast 29 tiebreakers while serving as George Washington’s vice president for almost eight years. 

Most of Harris’s votes have come to advance President Biden’s nominees to the executive or judicial branch. They also mostly happened during the past session of Congress when the Senate was evenly divided 50-50. 

But the upper chamber remains closely divided with Democrats holding a slim majority, making Harris likely to potentially tie and surpass Calhoun for the record. The cloture motion to advance Merle’s nomination passed after all but one Democrat voted in favor — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) joined all Republicans in voting against. 

Some of Harris’s tiebreaking votes have also been key to advancing Biden’s legislative agenda, breaking a tie to start debate on the American Rescue Plan in March 2021 and one in August 2022 to pass the Inflation Reduction Act.

Source: The Hill

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