The Senate passed tax reform early Saturday morning, but not without the help of Vice President Mike Pence.
Pence cast a tie-breaking vote on an amendment to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act offered by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz that expands the current 529 College Savings Plans to K-12 schools as well as homeschooling.
This is the sixth Senate tie that Pence has broken in less than a year since becoming vice president. The number of ties he has broken is strikingly greater than the number of ties that past vice presidents have voted.
So far, Pence has voted on more tie breakers than three of the last five vice presidents combined. His first tie-breaking vote confirmed Betsy Devos as Secretary of Education, less than a month after his inauguration.
Here are the number of Senate tie-breakers that the last five vice presidents have voted on:
- Joe Biden never voted on a Senate tie over eight years
- Dick Cheney voted eight times on a Senate tie over eight years
- Al Gore voted four times on a Senate tie over eight years
- Dan Quayle never voted on a Senate tie over four years
- George H.W. Bush voted seven times on a Senate tie over eight years
Biden, Gore, and Quayle served a combined total of 20 years in office and voted on less Senate ties combined than Pence, who has served less than a year in office.
Pence’s voting record of six tie-breakers in under a year shows the current tensity of the Senate voting record as it is divided almost evenly between Democrats and Republicans. Their ties emphasize the need for both parties to gain seats in the upcoming 2018 Senatorial elections.
Cruz said the 529 College Savings Plans are “already immensely popular” and that the “common sense amendment” will expand options for parents seeking education for their children in primary schools.
Oregon Senator John Wyden called upon members of the Senate to “oppose the amendment because it undermines America’s public education system.”
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was the first major piece of legislation passed through both houses of Congress for the Republican party, as well as a significant legislative victory for the Trump administration.