Harris to resign from Senate seat on Monday
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will resign from her Senate seat on Monday ahead of Wednesday’s inauguration ceremony.
Harris has already started the process by notifying California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). She’s then expected to make an announcement on Monday resigning from her Senate seat, according to Harris aides.
“She’s notified Governor Newsom, and has sent her formal indication that she will be resigning on Monday, January 18. And then she will make a formal announcement on Monday,” said an aide.
Newsom has already announced that he will appoint Alex Padilla, California’s secretary of state, to fill Harris’s seat for the remainder of her term, which was scheduled to end in 2022.
Though the pick was lauded by labor unions and Latino organizations, it also rankled some who wanted Newsom to replace Harris with an African American woman.
Harris is one of just three Black senators. Though the arrival of Sen.-elect Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) will keep that overall number steady, Harris is the only Black female senator currently serving and just the second Black female senator in the chamber’s history.
Harris’s ascension to the vice presidency will shatter one of the few remaining glass ceilings women face in politics as she becomes the highest-elected woman in American history. In addition to being the first female vice president, Harris is also the first Black, Indian and Caribbean American woman to serve in the country’s second-highest office.
Harris was elected to the Senate in 2016. She quickly garnered the national spotlight for her sharp questioning style, including grilling then-Department of Homeland Security nominee John Kelly, appearing to fluster then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions during a 2017 Judiciary Committee hearing and raising eyebrows when she asked then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh if he had ever discussed former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe with anyone.
Harris teamed up with Republicans on issues such as election security and criminal justice reform during her Senate tenure.
She also had high-profile fights with her GOP colleagues, including a heated floor debate with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) in June over a GOP police reform bill and separate anti-lynching legislation that Harris offered with Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.). Roughly a week later, she and Cornyn teamed up on legislation to shore up foreign media disclosures under the Foreign Agent Registration Act.
Though Harris is leaving her Senate seat, she’s not technically leaving the Senate behind entirely. Harris will be sworn in on Wednesday by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as the country’s next vice president.
As vice president she also holds the role of being president of the Senate. The title allows Harris to preside over the chamber and break 50-50 ties, effectively handing Democrats the majority for the first time since 2014 once she is sworn in on Wednesday.
Democrats failed to lock down the majority in November but squeaked out a 50-50 majority after winning the two Georgia runoff elections.
“This is not a goodbye for Vice President-elect Harris,” said a Harris aide. “As she resigns from the Senate, she’s preparing to take an oath that will allow her to preside over it.”
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