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 tie-breaking votes since 1981
|Senate President||Date||Bill||Vote||Ultimate result|
|George H. W. Bush||July 13, 1983||Motion to table Pryor Amdt.1468 on nerve gas||Yea: 50-49|
|November 8, 1983||Stevens/Tower/Goldwater Amdt.2517 on nerve gas||Yea: 47-46|
|June 14, 1984||Motion to table Moynihan Amdt.3208 on MX missiles||Yea: 49-48|
|May 10, 1985||Dole Amdt.93 on cutting deficit||Yea: 50-49|
|July 23, 1986||Motion to reconsider vote on Manion nomination||Nay: 49–50|
|August 7, 1986||Pryor Amdt.2612 on nerve gas||Nay: 50–51|
|September 22, 1987||Motion to table Johnston Amdt.710 on SDI funding||Yea: 51-50|
|Al Gore||June 25, 1993||H.R. 2264 (Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993)||Yea: 50-49||Conference Report (see below) enacted as Pub.L. 103–66|
|August 6, 1993||H.R. 2264 (Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993) Conference Report||Yea: 51-50||Enacted.
|August 3, 1994||Motion to table S.Amdt. 2446 (Johnston Ethanol Limitation Amendment) to H.R 4624 (Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act of 1995)||Yea: 51-50||S.Amdt. 2446 tabled|
|May 20, 1999||S.Amdt. 362 (Lautenberg Gun Show Sales Amendment) to S. 254 (School Safety Act of 1999)||Yea: 51-50||S. 254 rejected by House by voice vote for Senate's lack of constitutional jurisdiction|
|Dick Cheney||April 3, 2001||S.Amdt. 173 (Grassley Prescription Drug Reserve Fund Amendment) to H.Con.Res. 83 (2002 budget)||Yea: 51-50||Agreed To|
|April 5, 2001||S.Amdt. 347 (Hutchison Marriage Penalty Tax Elimination Amendment) to H.Con.Res. 83 (2002 budget)||Yea: 51-50||Agreed To|
|May 21, 2002||Motion to table S.Amdt. 3406 (Allen Mortgage Loan Amendment) to H.R. 3009 (Trade Act of 2002)||Yea: 50-49||Tabled|
|April 11, 2003||H.Con.Res. 95 (2004 budget)||Yea: 51-50||Enacted|
|May 15, 2003||S.Amdt. 664 (Nickles Dividend Exclusion Amendment) to S. 1054 (Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003)||Yea: 51-50||S. 1054 incorporated into H.R. 2 (see below), which was enacted as Pub.L. 108–27.|
|May 23, 2003||H.R. 2 (Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003) Conference Report||Yea: 51-50||Enacted.
|December 21, 2005||S. 1932 (Personal Responsibility, Work, and Family Promotion Act of 2005)||Yea:
Bill sent to conference committee and enacted, Pub.L. 109–171.
|March 13, 2008||Motion to reconsider S. Amdt 4189 to S. Con. Res. 70||Yea:
|Motion agreed to.|
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