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Vice President Harris Sets New Record with 32nd Tie-Breaking Vote

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Vice President Kamala Harris made history this week with her 32nd tie-breaking vote, surpassing the previous record for the most tie-breakers cast by a vice president.

By casting a vote to break a 50-50 deadlock and advance the nomination of Loren AliKhan for a U.S. district judge position, Harris exceeded the 191-year-old record of 31 tie-breaking votes set by John C. Calhoun, who served as vice president from 1825 to 1832 under Presidents John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) sided with Republicans in voting against invoking cloture.

“Today is historic,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) noted after the vote. “Vice President Harris has just cast her 32nd tie-breaking vote, the most tiebreakers ever. I join all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle thanking the vice president for her leadership and making the work of the Senate possible.”

“The vice president’s tie-breaking votes have been consequential in moving the Biden-Harris agenda forward over the last three years,” a spokesperson for the White House. “These tie-breaking votes have helped deliver for the American people by lowering costs for American families, creating good-paying jobs in local communities, and providing economic relief for small businesses across the country.”

Schumer commemorated the occasion by gifting Harris a golden gavel.

“The record Vice President Harris sets today is significant not just because of the number but of what she’s made possible,” said Schumer.

To advance President Joe Biden’s nomination of Kalpana Kotagal to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Harris voted in July, when she tied the record with her thirty-first vote. The vice president is technically the Senate president under U.S. law, but he or she can only vote in the event of a tie.

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Not only that, but Biden and Harris are both unpopular, with Harris’s approval rating being even lower than that of her boss.

This is the first time Biden has lost to Trump during his presidency, according to a November NBC News poll, and Harris’s approval rating dropped below 30%.

Harris has the lowest approval rating of any modern vice president, at 29%, with only 40% of respondents approving of Biden’s performance.

“Additionally, when asked whether they would vote for a Republican candidate or Biden in the 2024 election, the current president lags at 37% to 48%,” Just the News reported, citing the survey. “When specifically asked about whether they would vote for Trump or Biden, 46% of voters said Trump while 44% said Biden, per the poll.”

A plurality of American voters believe that former President Donald Trump’s four years in office were “better than expected,” whereas less than one in seven think the same of President Joe Biden’s term in office.

Forty percent of respondents to a nationwide poll by NBC News on Friday said that they had anticipated a “better” presidency under Trump, the New York Post reported.

31% said it was “about as expected,” and 29% said it was “worse.”

Just 14% of respondents thought Biden’s presidency was “better than expected,” while 42% thought it was “worse.”

Per the poll, 44% more people said it was “about as expected.”

Only 29% of nationally registered voters said that Trump’s presidency was “better than expected,” 27% said it was “worse,” and 43% said it was “about as expected” halfway through his term in office, according to NBC News.

Party-wise, 52% of Democrats said the Biden administration “met expectations,” 30% said it was “better than they expected,” and 18% said it had been “worse” in Friday’s poll.

In contrast, 81% of Republican voters thought the Trump administration was “better than expected,” 6% thought it was “worse,” and 24% thought it was “about as expected.”

But when it came to independent voters, the Biden administration performed horribly; just 6% of them said the president’s term had been “better than they expected,” and a staggering 52% said it had been “worse.”

Of independent voters, 18% thought the Trump administration was “worse,” 43% thought it was “about as expected,” and 38% thought it was “better” than expected.

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The poll also revealed that ahead of the 2024 presidential election, registered voters’ top concerns are the US border and the economy, with those who are critical of Biden pointing to worries about his age and mental capacity.

However, several Democrats expressed dissatisfaction to NBC News regarding the president’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict as well as some of his most notable legislative successes.

“Nothing has touched me when it comes to Biden at all that I can say, at least, ‘Yeah, there was a trickle-down,’” New Jersey Democrat Dionne Holt, who voted for Biden in 2020, told the outlet.

Though it has been more than three years since Trump left office, Holt insisted that he was not “good for the country” and her opinion of his presidency had not changed.

The administration’s opposition to Trump, laws enacted to support US infrastructure and combat climate change, and an improving economy since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic were cited by those who still believe that Biden’s tenure has been “better than expected.”

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Republican voters, on the other hand, who nostalgically recalled Trump’s administration highlighted foreign policy stability and economic growth.

“I think the economy was growing and the country was secure. Well, we had the border, and we had no wars, we had no wars with the other foreign countries,” one Illinois Republican in his mid-50s told NBC.

Some registered Democrats and independent voters gave Trump high marks for his handling of the economy and immigration, citing it as evidence that his administration performed “better than expected.”

The personal character of the 45th president, his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, and his actions leading up to the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, were among the reasons given by registered voters who said the administration was “worse than expected.”

NBC interviewed one thousand registered voters from January 26 to 30. Its error margin is three percentage points, plus or minus.

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