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:

According to the U.S. Senate, as of March 30, 2017, the tie-breaking vote (or casting vote) had been made 258 times by 36 different Vice Presidents.[1]

Historical significance[edit]

When there is a tie in the Senate, as seen here for the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, the Vice President (in this case, Mike Pence) has to step in to break the tie.

The first President of the Senate, John Adams, cast 29 tie-breaking votes. 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. 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 during that time.

Mike Pence has cast the most tie-breaking votes (6) for a Vice President within their first year in office in history. He broke a tie with John Adams, William Wheeler, and Alben Barkley, who all had four tie-breaking votes within their first year in office.[1]

In recent years, with the rise in the 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. For comparison, more tie-breaking votes were cast by the first seven vice presidents (84) than have been cast by all of the Vice Presidents since the turn of the 20th century (72).

List of presidents of the Senate by number of tie-breaking votes[edit]

As of December 2, 2017, there have been 261 tie-breaking votes cast by 36 Presidents of the U.S. Senate while 12 others did not cast tie-breaking votes. The average number of tie-breaking votes cast by a Vice President may be considered to be 0 (the mode: 12 cast no tie-breaking votes), 3 (the median value: half cast more, half cast less), or about 5.437 (the mean value: 261 votes divided among 48 Presidents of the Senate).

Rank by
# of Tie-
breaking
votes
# of Tie-
breaking
votes
President of the Senate Party Order in
Office
Term of office President(s)
1 31 John C. Calhoun Democratic-Republican 7 Mar 4, 1825Dec 28, 1832 J. Q. Adams / Andrew Jackson
2 29 John Adams Federalist 1 Apr 21, 1789Mar 4, 1797 George Washington
3 19 George Dallas Democratic 11 Mar 4, 1845Mar 4, 1849 James K. Polk
4 18 Schuyler Colfax Republican 17 Mar 4, 1869Mar 4, 1873 Ulysses S. Grant
5 14 Richard M. Johnson Democratic 9 Mar 4, 1837Mar 4, 1841 Martin Van Buren
5 14 George Clinton Democratic-Republican 4 Mar 4, 1805Apr 20, 1812 Thomas Jefferson / James Madison
7 10 John C. Breckinridge Democratic 14 Mar 4, 1857Mar 4, 1861 James Buchanan
8 9 Thomas R. Marshall Democratic 28 Mar 4, 1913Mar 4, 1921 Woodrow Wilson
8 9 Elbridge Gerry Democratic-Republican 5 Mar 4, 1813Nov 23, 1814 James Madison
10 8 Alben W. Barkley Democratic 35 Jan 20, 1949Jan 20, 1953 Harry S. Truman
10 8 Richard M. Nixon Republican 36 Jan 20, 1953Jan 20, 1961 Dwight D. Eisenhower
10 8 Dick Cheney Republican 46 Jan 20, 2001Jan 20, 2009 George W. Bush
13 7 Hannibal Hamlin Republican 15 Mar 4, 1861Mar 4, 1865 Abraham Lincoln
13 7 George H. W. Bush Republican 43 Jan 20, 1981Jan 20, 1989 Ronald W. Reagan
15 6 Daniel D. Tompkins Democratic-Republican 6 Mar 4, 1817Mar 4, 1825 James Monroe
15 6 William A. Wheeler Republican 19 Mar 4, 1877Mar 4, 1881 Rutherford B. Hayes
15 6 Mike Pence Republican 48 Jan 20, 2017 – present Donald Trump
18 4 Martin Van Buren Democratic 8 Mar 4, 1833Mar 4, 1837 Andrew Jackson
18 4 Levi P. Morton Republican 22 Mar 4, 1889Mar 4, 1893 Benjamin Harrison
18 4 James S. Sherman Republican 27 Mar 4, 1909Oct 30, 1912 William H. Taft
18 4 Henry A. Wallace Democratic 33 Jan 20, 1941Jan 20, 1945 Franklin D. Roosevelt
18 4 Hubert H. Humphrey Democratic 38 Jan 20, 1965Jan 20, 1969 Lyndon B. Johnson
18 4 Al Gore Democratic 45 Jan 20, 1993Jan 20, 2001 Bill Clinton
24 3 Thomas Jefferson Democratic-Republican 2 Mar 4, 1797Mar 4, 1801 John Adams
24 3 Aaron Burr Democratic-Republican 3 Mar 4, 1801Mar 4, 1805 Thomas Jefferson
24 3 Millard Fillmore Whig 12 Mar 4, 1849Jul 9, 1850 Zachary Taylor
24 3 Chester A. Arthur Republican 20 Mar 4, 1881Sep 19, 1881 James A. Garfield
24 3 Charles Curtis Republican 31 Mar 4, 1929Mar 4, 1933 Herbert Hoover
24 3 John N. Garner Democratic 32 Mar 4, 1933Jan 20, 1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt
30 2 Adlai Stevenson Democratic 23 Mar 4, 1893Mar 4, 1897 Grover Cleveland
30 2 Charles G. Dawes Republican 30 Mar 4, 1925Mar 4, 1929 Calvin Coolidge
30 2 Spiro T. Agnew Republican 39 Jan 20, 1969Oct 10, 1973 Richard M. Nixon
33 1 Henry Wilson Republican 18 Mar 4, 1873Nov 22, 1875 Ulysses S. Grant
33 1 Garret A. Hobart Republican 24 Mar 4, 1897Nov 21, 1899 William McKinley
33 1 Harry S. Truman Democratic 34 Jan 20, 1945Apr 12, 1945 Franklin D. Roosevelt
33 1 Walter F. Mondale Democratic 42 Jan 20, 1977Jan 20, 1981 Jimmy Carter
37 0 John Tyler Whig 10 Mar 4, 1841Apr 4, 1841 William H. Harrison
37 0 William R. King Democratic 13 Mar 4, 1853Apr 18, 1853 Franklin Pierce
37 0 Andrew Johnson Democratic 16 Mar 4, 1865Apr 15, 1865 Abraham Lincoln
37 0 Thomas A. Hendricks Democratic 21 Mar 4, 1885Nov 25, 1885 Grover Cleveland
37 0 Theodore Roosevelt Republican 25 Mar 4, 1901Sep 14, 1901 William McKinley
37 0 Charles W. Fairbanks Republican 26 Mar 4, 1905Mar 4, 1909 Theodore Roosevelt
37 0 Calvin Coolidge Republican 29 Mar 4, 1921Aug 2, 1923 Warren G. Harding
37 0 Lyndon B. Johnson Democratic 37 Jan 20, 1961Nov 22, 1963 John F. Kennedy
37 0 Gerald R. Ford Republican 40 Dec 6, 1973Aug 9, 1974 Richard M. Nixon
37 0 Nelson A. Rockefeller Republican 41 Dec 19, 1974Jan 20, 1977 Gerald Ford
37 0 Dan Quayle Republican 44 Jan 20, 1989Jan 20, 1993 George H. W. Bush
37 0 Joe Biden Democratic 47 Jan 20, 2009Jan 20, 2017 Barack Obama

List of tie-breaking votes since 1945[edit]

Senate President Date Bill Vote Ultimate result
Harry Truman April 10, 1945 Taft amendment to H.R. 2013 (Lend-Lease Extension Act of 1945) to block the postwar delivery of Lend-Lease Act items contracted for during World War II.[3][4] Nay: 39-40 Amendment defeated.
Alben Barkley September 15, 1949 Motion to reconsider the vote by which the Senate agreed to the McCarthy amendment to H.R. 1211 (Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1949) to direct the president to establish import quotas on furs and fur products.[5] Yea: 42-41 Motion agreed to. The amendment was defeated in the re-vote.
September 15, 1949 Motion to table the motion to reconsider the vote by which the Senate agreed to the McCarthy amendment to H.R. 1211 (Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1949).[5] Nay: 41-42 Motion defeated. H.R. 1211 passed and enacted without amendments added. The reciprocal trade agreements program is extended to 1951.
October 4, 1949 Motion to table the motion to reconsider the vote by which the Senate rejected the Young-Russell amendment to H.R. 5345 (Agricultural Act of 1949) to make mandatory price support at 90% parity on cotton, wheat, corn, rice, peanuts.[6] Nay: 37-38 Motion defeated. The Young-Russell amendment is reconsidered for a new roll call vote.
October 4, 1949 Young-Russell amendment to H.R. 5345 (Agricultural Act of 1949) to make mandatory price support at 90% parity on cotton, wheat, corn, rice, peanuts. [This was a re-vote after the motion to reconsider the original defeat of the amendment was passed.][6] Yea: 38-37 Amendment passed. This amendment was later changed in a compromise with the House version. H.R. 5345 was passed and enacted.
May 3, 1950 Motion to substitute the Senate Democratic Policy Committee amendment to S.Res. 202 (Nationwide Investigation into Organized Crime Act) to provide for an investigation into gambling and racketeering interstate crime by a special five-member committee called the "Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce" who would be selected by the Vice President. The group's composition would be three Democrats and two Republicans.[7][8] Yea: 36-35 Motion agreed to. The Senate Democratic Policy Committee plan replaced the original S.Res. 202 and S.Res. 202 was passed.
June 5, 1950 Conference bill of H.R. 5332 (Foreign-Trade Zones Amendment Act of 1950) to ease restrictions on assembling and processing of foreign goods in the "foreign-trade zones" which the original Act set up in major U.S. ports. [9] Yea: 31-30 H.R. 5332 passed and enacted.
June 26, 1950 Conference bill of H.R. 6567 (Commodity Credit Corporation Amendment Act of 1950) to increase the Commodity Credit Corporation's borrowing authority by $2 billion and other farm-related amendments.[10][11] Yea: 36-35 H.R. 6567 passed and enacted.
June 4, 1952 Ives amendment to S. 2954 (Defense Production Act Amendments of 1952) to maintain the same equal membership of the Wage Stabilization Board between labor, industry, and the public. The WSB would only be permitted to mediate only in wage disputes.[12][13] Yea: 42-41 Amendment passed. A later amendment during conference committee that was included in the final bill changed the composition of the WSB from equal representation between labor, industry, and the public to the board having more representation from the public.
Richard Nixon June 18, 1953 Motion to proceed to the consideration of the conference report of S. 1081 (Defense Production Act Amendments of 1953).[14][15][16] Yea: 40-39 Motion agreed to.
June 18, 1953 Motion to table the motion to reconsider the vote by which the Senate agreed to proceed with the consideration of the conference report of S. 1081 (Defense Production Act Amendments of 1953).[14][17][16] Yea: 42-41 Motion agreed to. The conference report of S. 1081 moves forward.
March 9, 1956 Aiken amendment to delete from H.R. 12 (Agricultural Act of 1956) 90% rigid mandatory price supports for millable varieties of wheat of 1956 crops.[18] Yea: 46-45 Amendment passed, but the final bill was unpalatable to everybody. Vetoed by President Eisenhower.
May 29, 1956 Knowland amendment to H.R. 10660 (Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956) to permit state agencies to determine prevailing wages for projects in the Interstate Highway System.[19] Yea: 40-39 Passed, but during conference committee the Knowland amendment wasn't included in the final bill.
March 12, 1958 Motion to table the motion to reconsider the vote on the Monroney amendment to delete the interest rate ceiling hike on American GI mortgages from 4.5% to 4.75% in S. 3418 (Emergency Housing Bill)[20] Yea: 48-47 Motion agreed to. GI mortgages now had an interest rate ceiling of 4.75%
April 22, 1959 Motion to table the motion to reconsider the vote on the McClellan amendment to S. 1555 (Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959) to add a bill of rights for union members to include guarantees of freedom of speech and periodic secret elections of officers.[21][22] Yea: 46-45 Motion agreed to. A bill of rights for union workers was included in the final bill that was passed and enacted.
February 3, 1960 Motion to table the motion to reconsider the vote on the Clark amendment to S. 8 (Emergency Federal Assistance for School Construction Act) to authorize $1.1 billion per year of federal funds for an indefinite period for school construction and teachers' salaries.[23] Yea: 45-44 Motion agreed to. A scaled-down version of the federal education funds passed later.
May 2, 1960 Gruening amendment to H.R. 11510 (Mutual Security Act of 1960) to prevent the President from using contingency funds to help replace cuts Congress may make later in other aid funds.[24][25] Nay: 44-45 Amendment defeated.
Lyndon B. Johnson No votes
Hubert Humphrey August 17, 1965 Motion to reconsider the vote rejecting the Fannin amendment to keep governors' full veto rights over three anti-poverty programs (work-training, community action and adult education) intact in H.R. 8283 (Economic Opportunity Amendments of 1965).[26][27][28] Nay: 45-46 Motion defeated. The Senate version of a full repeal of veto rights was rejected eventually. The House version's limited repeal of veto rights was included in the final bill.
September 13, 1965 Bass amendment to H.R. 9811 (Food and Agriculture Act of 1965)[29] to strike from the bill a provision transferring from the Secretary of Labor to the Secretary of Agriculture authority to determine whether foreign farm workers are required by U.S. farmers.[30] Yea: 46-45 H.R. 9811 was passed and enacted.
May 9, 1967 Gore-Williams amendment to H.R. 6950 (Restoring the Investment Tax Credit and the Allowance of Accelerated Depreciation in the Case of Certain Real Property Act)[31] to make the 1966 Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act inoperative after September 15, 1967.[32] Nay: 48-49 Eventually H.R. 6950 was passed and enacted but with an amendment to make the 1966 Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act inoperative.
March 11, 1968 Clark amendment to H.R. 15399 (Urgent Supplemental Appropriations Act) to appropriate $25 million for the Office of Economic Opportunity's Head Start Program.[33] Yea: 43-42 H.R. 15399 died in Congress. The $25 million funding for Head Start was approved in a different bill.[34]
Spiro Agnew August 6, 1969 Smith amendment to prohibit funding for the Safeguard anti-ballistic missile program[35][36][37] Nay: 50-51 The Safeguard anti-ballistic missile program was authorized and came into fruition.
July 17, 1973 Motion to table the motion to reconsider the Gravel-Stevens amendment to S. 1081 (Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act) that states that the Interior Department has met all the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline project.[38][39][37] Yea: 50-49 Motion agreed to. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act was ultimately passed and enacted in November 1973. The act authorized construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.
Gerald Ford No votes
Nelson Rockefeller No votes
Walter Mondale November 4, 1977 Motion to table the Curtis amendment to H.R. 9346 (Social Security Tax Act of 1977) to continue the tradition of employers and employees paying equal shares of Social Security taxes.[38][40] Yea: 42-41 Motion agreed to
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
Dan Quayle No votes
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.
Pub.L. 103–66
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 returned to Senate by House via blue slip. Expired at end of session.
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.
Pub.L. 108–27
December 21, 2005 S. 1932 (Personal Responsibility, Work, and Family Promotion Act of 2005) Yea:
51-50
Passed.
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:
51-50
Motion agreed to.
Joe Biden No votes
Mike Pence February 7, 2017 PN37 (Nomination of Elisabeth Prince DeVos, of Michigan, to be Secretary of Education.[41][42]) Yea:
51-50
Nomination confirmed.
March 30, 2017 Motion to proceed to H.J.Res. 43 Yea:
51-50
Motion agreed to.
March 30, 2017 H.J.Res. 43 (Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule submitted by Secretary of Health and Human Services relating to compliance with title X requirements by project recipients in selecting subrecipients.) Yea:
51-50
Enacted.
Pub.L. 115–23
July 25, 2017 Motion to proceed to H.R. 1628 (American Health Care Act of 2017).[43] Yea:
51-50
Motion agreed to.
October 24, 2017 H.J.Res. 111 (Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection relating to "Arbitration Agreements".)[44] Yea:
51-50
Enacted.
Pub.L. 115–74
December 2, 2017 S.Amdt. 1852 (Cruz 529 Savings Plan Amendment) to H.R. 1 (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) Yea:
51-50
Agreed to.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]