Vice President Harris breaks record for casting the most tiebreaking votes

WASHINGTON — Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday broke the record by casting the most tiebreaking votes in the Senate in U.S. history.

She has now broken 32 ties, beating the record of 31 that was set by John C. Calhoun, who was vice president from 1825 to 1832.

Harris broke a tie Tuesday on the nomination of Loren Alikhan to be a U.S. district judge for Washington, D.C.

In addition to serving in the executive branch, the vice president is also the president of the Senate, with the constitutional power to break ties.

Harris’ vote Tuesday also puts the U.S. at 300 tiebreaks since 1789, according to Senate records.

Immediately after her history-making vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., took to the Senate floor to congratulate Harris, noting that the Inflation Reduction Act, the American Rescue Plan and other key Biden administration achievements would not have passed Congress without her vote. Off the floor, Schumer presented Harris with a golden gavel to commemorate the occasion.

It was less common for vice presidents to be called on to break Senate ties in recent administrations. Former Vice President Mike Pence cast 13 tiebreaking votes. President Joe Biden did not cast any when he was vice president in the Obama administration.

But the Senate has been narrowly divided during the entirety of the Biden administration. It is divided among 48 Democrats, 49 Republicans and three independents, two of whom caucus with Democrats: Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine. The third independent, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, left the Democratic Party last year to register as an independent.