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Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday cast a record-setting 32nd tie-breaker vote in the Senate, voting to approve the confirmation of Loren L. AliKhan to the federal bench.
Harris, the first Black and Asian-American woman to hold the office, tied in July the record that had been set in 1832 by then-Vice President John C. Calhoun, an ardent defender of slavery and White Southerners.
The vice president officially serves as the president of the Senate and so has the power to break ties in the chamber. Democrats have had narrow control of the Senate since President Joe Biden and Harris took office in 2020, and so Harris has been called on to break a number of ties on legislation as well as nominations.
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Democrats winning an extra Senate seat in the 2022 midterms meant Harris wasn’t needed to stick close to Capitol Hill as often. Her vote on Tuesday was her sixth tie-breaking vote of 2023.
After the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer bestowed Harris with a golden gavel to commemorate the occasion.
“It is my honor to present the golden gavel to Vice President Harris on this great day – 32 tie-breaking votes,” Schumer said outside the Senate chamber.
“I’m honored, I’m truly honored,” Harris said.
The vice president’s office in a statement Tuesday called the 32 tie-breaking votes “consequential in moving the Biden-Harris agenda forward over the last three years.”
Harris has cast tie-breaking votes on the Inflation Reduction Act, which included measures to combat climate change and lower prescription drug costs, and the American Rescue Plan, a pandemic relief package.
Most of Harris’ tie-breaking votes have been on judicial nominations. The Biden administration recently reached another milestone when the Senate confirmed Margaret Garnett as a U.S. district judge to the Southern District of New York, making her the 100th woman appointed to a lifetime Article III judgeship under Biden.
The Senate also recently confirmed Judge Shanlyn A.S. Park to be a U.S. district judge in Hawaii, making her the first Native Hawaiian woman to serve as a federal judge.
AliKhan was nominated by Biden to be a U.S. district judge for the District of Columbia. She was previously a judge on the D.C. Court of Appeals and solicitor general of Washington, D.C.
Biden, when he was vice president under President Barack Obama, cast zero tie-breaking votes. Vice President Mike Pence, who served under President Donald Trump, cast 13.