List of tie-breaking votes cast by Vice Presidents of the United States
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|“||The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.||”|
The first President of the Senate, John Adams, cast twenty-nine tie-breaking votes—a record none of his successors has matched. His votes protected the president's sole authority over the removal of appointees, influenced the location of the national capital, and prevented war with Great Britain. On at least one occasion he persuaded senators to vote against legislation that he opposed, and he frequently lectured the Senate on procedural and policy matters. Adams's political views and his active role in the Senate made him a natural target for critics of the Washington administration. Toward the end of his first term, as a result of a threatened resolution that would have silenced him except for procedural and policy matters, he began to exercise more restraint in the hope of realizing the goal shared by many of his successors: election in his own right as president of the United States.
In 2001, during the 107th Congress, the Senate was divided 50–50 between Republicans and Democrats and thus Dick Cheney's tie-breaking vote gave the Republicans the Senate majority. Interestingly, however, because the 107th Congress was sworn in on January 3, while the president and vice president were not sworn in until the 20th, Democrats technically held a 51–50 majority in the Senate for the 17 days while Al Gore was still Vice President. However, no substantive legislative work was done in this time.
In recent years, with the rise in use of the filibuster in the United States Senate, the Vice President's tie-breaking vote has become less important, because close votes on important issues will, with few exceptions, almost certainly be filibustered, preventing a tied vote from taking place. Three fifths of the votes—far higher than the half from a tie—is needed to end a filibuster.
List of Presidents of the Senate by number of tie-breaking votes
There have been 244 tie-breaking votes cast by 35 Presidents of the Senate while 12 Presidents of the Senate did not cast tie-breaking votes. The median and mean numbers of tie-breaking votes cast per Senate President are 3 and 5.19 respectively.
- List of Vice Presidential Tie-Breaking Votes, 1789-2003 (U.S. Senate Historical Office)
- Votes by Vice Presidents to Break Tie Votes in the Senate, 1981-2005 (Secretary of the U.S. Senate)