Harris casts first tie-breaking votes as vice president

Vice President Harris cast her first tie-breaking votes early Friday morning helping Senate Democrats pass a budget resolution that greenlights them passing coronavirus relief without GOP support. 

Harris, who served in the Senate for roughly four years before stepping down to become vice president, arrived at the Capitol on Friday hours into the Senate's all-night vote-a-rama on the budget resolution. 

Harris arrived in the chamber, swapping out with Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyPassage of FASTER Act is critical for food allergy community Sunday shows: Biden's border woes, gun control dominate Murphy, Toomey say background check bill could pass Senate MORE (D-Conn.), who had been presiding. The two exchanged an elbow bump and chatted briefly. 


Harris then presided over the Senate for three votes, breaking ties on two of them. 

Harris cast her first tie-breaking vote on a final amendment from Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerThe first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally H.R. 1/S. 1: Democrats defend their majorities, not honest elections McCarthy asks FBI, CIA for briefing after two men on terror watchlist stopped at border MORE (D-N.Y.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie SandersBernie SandersHillicon Valley: Amazon wins union election — says 'our employees made the choice' On The Money: Biden .5T budget proposes major hike in social programs | GOP bashes border, policing provisions Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists MORE (I-Vt.). Republicans said the Democratic proposal stripped out three GOP amendments and opposed it, resulting in a 50-50 tie.

"On this vote, the yeas are 50, the nays are 50. The Senate being equally divided, the vice president votes in the affirmative and the amendment is agreed to," Harris said.

Harris then cast a second tie-breaking vote on the final passage of the budget resolution. Every Democrat voted for the proposal, while all Republicans voted against it. Because the Senate is evenly split, that resulted in the tie.  

Schumer thanked Harris for helping them pass the budget resolution after the votes. Though the budget doesn't get signed into law, it's a crucial first step for Democrats to be able to pass a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill without GOP support.  


"Madam Vice President ... thank you so much for being part of this first big step to putting our country back on the road to recovery, and we very much appreciate you being here," Schumer said. 

Several senators from both parties, including Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Dakota Access pipeline to remain in operation despite calls for shutdown | Biden hopes to boost climate spending by B | White House budget proposes .4B for environmental justice Biden .5T budget proposes major hike in social programs Biden hopes to boost climate spending by billion MORE (D-Vt.), Cory BookerCory BookerThe first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally Top Democrat calling for expansion of child care support When it comes to the Iran nuclear deal, what's a moderate Democrat to do? MORE (D-N.J.), Sanders, Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOn management of Utah public lands, Biden should pursue an accountable legislative process Rubio asks MLB commissioner if he'll give up Augusta golf club membership Why some Republicans think vaccine passports will backfire on Democrats MORE (R-Utah), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanTo encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Biden-GOP infrastructure talks off to rocky start MORE (R-Ohio) and Jim RischJim Elroy RischGOP lawmakers block Biden assistance to Palestinians Lack of cyber funds in Biden infrastructure plan raises eyebrows The Hill's Morning Report - Biden shifts on filibuster MORE (R-Idaho), stopped to chat with Harris while she was presiding over the chamber. Harris stood to hug Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinCaitlyn Jenner exploring bid for California governor: report WokeWorld comes for 'oppressor' Obama: Activists rip school being named after 'deporter in chief' Senators press for answers in Space Command move decision MORE (D-Calif.). 

The resolution includes instructions for crafting the coronavirus aid bill under reconciliation, a tool that will allow the Biden proposal to bypass a 60-vote filibuster in the Senate.  

Harris's tie-breaking votes appear to be the earliest time in modern history that a vice president has had to break a tie.

Her votes also mark the first time that a woman or African American has represented the 50-50 tie-breaking vote in the Senate.

Then-Vice President Pence broke his first tie on Feb. 7, 2017, according to data from the Senate Historical Office.