What to Know in Washington: Harris Nears VP Tie-Breaking Record

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Vice President Kamala Harris is on the verge of casting more tie-breaking votes in the Senate than any of her predecessors, underscoring the chamber’s increasing partisan rancor in an era of narrowly divided government and presenting her a unique set of challenges in traveling outside of Washington D.C.

Harris has so far broken 29 tie votes since becoming vice president in January 2021, putting her on track in just over two years to surpass the record of 31 set by John C. Calhoun over almost eight years as vice president in the 19th century.

Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris during a reception celebrating Black History Month in the White House on Feb. 27.

“I always like it when she votes because when the vice president votes, we win,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

The increased number of votes for Harris to break provides the latest evidence of the country’s political fissures, showcased in party-line votes by a Senate narrowly divided in membership between the two parties. Read more.

Also Happening on the Hill


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Senators Urge Treasury to Ease Barriers to Seeing Ownership Info

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Norfolk Southern CEO to Testify to Senate Panel on March 22

Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw will appear before the Senate Commerce Committee’s hearing on improving rail safety on March 22.

Republican Lawmakers Pan Offshore Wind Plans at NJ Event

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FDA Calls Diagnostics ‘Top Priority’ for Pandemic Response Bill

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Biden Seeks Funds for Relic IT Upgrade at Indian Health Service

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Elections, Politics & Probes

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Around the Administration


  • Biden meets with the Taoiseach of Ireland, Prime Minister H.E. Leo Varadkar, at 10:30 a.m. in the White House.
  • At noon, the president attends the Friends of Ireland Caucus St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon at the US Capitol.
  • Biden hosts Varadkar at the White House at 5 p.m. for a Shamrock presentation and reception, then departs for New Castle, Delaware, at 7:30 p.m.

US Taps Wall Street Banks for Show of Unity With First Republic

US authorities said a deal by the nation’s biggest lenders to deposit $30 billion with First Republic Bank demonstrated the resilience of the nation’s banking system, seeking to reinforce a message that the sector is on firm footing and united in its efforts.

  • Jamie Dimon and Janet Yellen were on a call Tuesday, when she floated an idea: What if the nation’s largest lenders deposited billions of dollars into First Republic Bank, the latest firm getting nudged toward the brink by a depositor panic. Read more.

FAA Seeks to Lengthen Aircraft ‘Black Box’ Cockpit Recordings

US aviation regulators are moving to extend the amount of time captured by crash-proof cockpit recorders after multiple recent cases in which they were overwritten.

Health Industry Pressed to Protect Data as Cyberattacks Spread

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Pfizer’s Paxlovid Gets Panel’s Nod for Full FDA Approval

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Top Biden Adviser Says US Won’t Rush to Fill Petroleum Reserve

The US is committed to replenishing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve but won’t rush to do so immediately despite the recent decline in oil prices, a top Biden administration official said.

DOJ Probe of Overlapping Board Members Stoke Governance Concerns

Companies with directors sitting on competitor’s boards have found it easier to part ways with those members rather than fight the Biden administration’s aggressive probe of board overlaps for potential antitrust violations.

US Approves Possible Tomahawk Missile Sale to Australia

The US State Department approved a potential sale of Tomahawk missile systems worth $895 million to Australia, further tightening security ties between the two nations.

US Says Video of Drone Encounter Shows Russia ‘Flat-Out Lying’

The Biden administration released dramatic footage of an encounter between Russian fighter jets and an American surveillance drone as the US sought to show that Russia was lying with claims that its warplane never hit the US aircraft.

Biden’s Pick for NCAA Basketball Champion Defeated in Round One

Biden chose the University of Arizona over the University of Kansas to win the men’s NCAA basketball tournament.


  • The US Supreme Court is set to weigh three high-profile intellectual property cases in a seven-day stretch testing the bounds of branded parodies, broad drug patent claims, and international application of trademark law. Read more.
  • A clash involving disgruntled Coinbase Global customers will give the US Supreme Court its first taste of the world of cryptocurrency, foreshadowing future cases that could help define the industry. Read more.
  • The US solicitor general urged justices on Thursday to deny an oil and gas petition against a Boulder, Colo., climate lawsuit, filing a brief requested by justices in October 2022. Read more.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com; Michaela Ross in Washington at mross@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Katrice Eborn at keborn@bgov.com

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