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Harris resigns Senate seat ahead of swearing in as VP

Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisRick Scott blocks Senate vote on top cyber nominee until Harris visits border Head of Border Patrol resigning from post Migrant children face alarming conditions in US shelter: BBC investigation MORE has formally resigned from her California Senate seat as she prepares to be sworn in Wednesday as vice president.

Harris sent her letter of resignation to California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCalifornia secretary of state confirms Newsom recall election Newsom overstated California's wildfire prevention efforts: report 70 percent of Californians over 12 have received one shot of coronavirus vaccine MORE (D) on Monday, The Hill confirmed. Newsom has chosen California Secretary of State Alex PadillaAlex PadillaSchumer vows to only pass infrastructure package that is 'a strong, bold climate bill' Democratic divisions threaten Biden's voting push Senate Latino Democrats warn about low Hispanic vaccination rates MORE to replace Harris, making Padilla the first Latino to represent the state in the U.S. Senate.

The vice president-elect discussed her resignation as senator in an op-ed published by The San Francisco Chronicle on Monday, titled “Serving as California’s senator has been an honor. But this is not a goodbye.” Harris, who entered office in 2017, is expected to continue casting votes in the Senate, serving as a tie-breaker since Democrats and Republicans each hold 50 seats.

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"As senator-turned-Vice-President Walter Mondale once pointed out, the vice presidency is the only office in our government that 'belongs to both the executive branch and the legislative branch.' A responsibility made greater with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate," Harris wrote.

"Since our nation’s founding, only 268 tie-breaking votes have been cast by a Vice President. I intend to work tirelessly as your Vice President, including, if necessary, fulfilling this Constitutional duty. 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."

Democrats won control of the Senate earlier this month following victories by Sens.-elect Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockExclusive: Conservative group targets vulnerable Democrats over abortion Racial reparations at the USDA Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda MORE and Jon OssoffJon OssoffOssoff introduces solar energy tax credit legislation Democrats seek new ways to expand Medicaid in holdout states Stacey Abrams calls on young voters of color to support election reform bill MORE in two Georgia runoffs, giving both parties an equal number of seats in the chamber and setting up Harris as vice president to cast tie-breaking votes on key legislation.

Harris commemorated Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday when making mention of Warnock and Ossoff, remarking that Warnock, a pastor from King's church, is the 11th Black senator to be elected since the Reconstruction era, while Ossoff is the first Jewish senator to come from the Deep South.

"Change is possible. For that, I am grateful and ready to get to work. Thus, as I leave the United States Senate, this is not goodbye. This is hello," she wrote.

Harris is expected to take her oath of office on Wednesday along with President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenSchumer vows to advance two-pronged infrastructure plan next month Biden appoints veteran housing, banking regulator as acting FHFA chief Iran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' MORE. Harris will be the first female vice president, as well as the first African American and Asian American to hold the office.