List of tie-breaking votes cast by Vice Presidents of the United States

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The Vice President of the United States is the ex officio President of the United States Senate, as provided in Article I, Section 3, Clause 4 of the United States Constitution:

The tie-breaking vote (or casting vote) has been made 244 times by 35 different Vice Presidents.[1]

Historical significance[edit]

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.[2]

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[edit]

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.

Rank by
# of Tie-
breaking
votes
# of Tie-
breaking
votes
President of the Senate Party Order in
Office
Term of Office President(s)
1 29 John Adams Federalist 1 Apr 21, 1789Mar 4, 1797 Washington
2 28 John Calhoun Democratic-Republican 7 Mar 4, 1825Dec 28, 1832 J. Q. Adams / Jackson
3 19 George Dallas Democratic 11 Mar 4, 1845Mar 4, 1849 Polk
4 17 Richard Johnson Democratic 9 Mar 4, 1837Mar 4, 1841 Van Buren
4 17 Schuyler Colfax Republican 17 Mar 4, 1869Mar 4, 1873 Grant
6 12 George Clinton Democratic-Republican 4 Mar 4, 1805Apr 20, 1812 Jefferson / Madison
7 9 John Breckinridge Democratic 14 Mar 4, 1857Mar 4, 1861 Buchanan
8 8 Thomas Marshall Democratic 28 Mar 4, 1913Mar 4, 1921 Wilson
8 8 Alben Barkley Democratic 35 Jan 20, 1949Jan 20, 1953 Truman
8 8 Richard Nixon Republican 36 Jan 20, 1953Jan 20, 1961 Eisenhower
8 8 Dick Cheney Republican 46 Jan 20, 2001Jan 20, 2009 G. W. Bush
12 7 Hannibal Hamlin Republican 15 Mar 4, 1861Mar 4, 1865 Lincoln
12 7 George H. W. Bush Republican 43 Jan 20, 1981Jan 20, 1989 Reagan
14 6 Elbridge Gerry Democratic-Republican 5 Mar 4, 1813Nov 23, 1814 Madison
14 6 William Wheeler Republican 19 Mar 4, 1877Mar 4, 1881 Hayes
16 4 Martin Van Buren Democratic 8 Mar 4, 1833Mar 4, 1837 Jackson
16 4 Levi Morton Republican 22 Mar 4, 1889Mar 4, 1893 B. Harrison
16 4 James Sherman Republican 27 Mar 4, 1909Oct 30, 1912 Taft
16 4 Henry Wallace Democratic 33 Jan 20, 1941Jan 20, 1945 F. Roosevelt
16 4 Hubert Humphrey Democratic 38 Jan 20, 1965Jan 20, 1969 L. B. Johnson
16 4 Al Gore Democratic 45 Jan 20, 1993Jan 20, 2001 Clinton
22 3 Thomas Jefferson Democratic-Republican 2 Mar 4, 1797Mar 4, 1801 J. Adams
22 3 Aaron Burr Democratic-Republican 3 Mar 4, 1801Mar 4, 1805 Jefferson
22 3 Daniel Tompkins Democratic-Republican 6 Mar 4, 1817Mar 4, 1825 Monroe
22 3 Millard Fillmore Whig 12 Mar 4, 1849Jul 9, 1850 Taylor
22 3 Chester Arthur Republican 20 Mar 4, 1881Sep 19, 1881 Garfield
22 3 Charles Curtis Republican 31 Mar 4, 1929Mar 4, 1933 Hoover
22 3 John Garner Democratic 32 Mar 4, 1933Jan 20, 1941 F. Roosevelt
29 2 Adlai Stevenson Democratic 23 Mar 4, 1893Mar 4, 1897 Cleveland
29 2 Charles Dawes Republican 30 Mar 4, 1925Mar 4, 1929 Coolidge
29 2 Spiro Agnew Republican 39 Jan 20, 1969Oct 10, 1973 Nixon
32 1 Henry Wilson Republican 18 Mar 4, 1873Nov 22, 1875 Grant
32 1 Garret Hobart Republican 24 Mar 4, 1897Nov 21, 1899 McKinley
32 1 Harry Truman Democratic 34 Jan 20, 1945Apr 12, 1945 F. Roosevelt
32 1 Walter Mondale Democratic 42 Jan 20, 1977Jan 20, 1981 Carter
36 0 John Tyler Whig 10 Mar 4, 1841Apr 4, 1841 W. H. Harrison
36 0 William King Democratic 13 Mar 4, 1853Apr 18, 1853 Pierce
36 0 Andrew Johnson Democratic 16 Mar 4, 1865Apr 15, 1865 Lincoln
36 0 Thomas Hendricks Democratic 21 Mar 4, 1885Nov 25, 1885 Cleveland
36 0 Theodore Roosevelt Republican 25 Mar 4, 1901Sep 14, 1901 McKinley
36 0 Charles Fairbanks Republican 26 Mar 4, 1905Mar 4, 1909 T. Roosevelt
36 0 Calvin Coolidge Republican 29 Mar 4, 1921Aug 2, 1923 Harding
36 0 Lyndon Johnson Democratic 37 Jan 20, 1961Nov 22, 1963 Kennedy
36 0 Gerald Ford Republican 40 Dec 6, 1973Aug 9, 1974 Nixon
36 0 Nelson Rockefeller Republican 41 Dec 19, 1974Jan 20, 1977 Ford
36 0 Dan Quayle Republican 44 Jan 20, 1989Jan 20, 1993 G. H. W. Bush
36 0 Joe Biden Democratic 47 Jan 20, 2009 – present Obama

References[edit]

External links[edit]