Updated: Aug 16, 2022
The vice president of the United States plays a rather limited role when it comes to the day-to-day operation of the federal government.
During his tenure as our nation's first vice president, John Adams described the office of the vice president as "the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived." Moreover, Thomas R. Marshall, the vice president who served under Woodrow Wilson, once contended that serving as the vice president is analogous to being "a man in a cataleptic fit; he cannot speak; he cannot move; he suffers no pain; he is perfectly conscious of all that goes on, but has no part in it."
On Sunday, Vice President Kamala Harris raced to the Capitol to perform one of the very few duties of the vice president: breaking a tie in the Senate.
According the the Constitution of the United States, the vice president is the president of the senate and has the sole power to break a tie whenever the yeas and nays of the voting members are equal.
On Sunday, the Senate voted on the Inflation Reduction Act (H.R. 5376). In a polarized vote, strictly along party lines, 50 senators voted in favor of the bill, and 50 senators voted against the bill. Vice President Harris, a Democrat, cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the legislation. Consequently, the bill, as amended, passed the senate.
Despite the bill's catchy and seemingly innocuous name, the Inflation Reduction Act, according to economists and Republican members of Congress, may actually end up increasing (not reducing) inflation rates.
In a Twitter thread, Newsmax's Benny Johnson called the Democrats' passage of the bill "political suicide" and proclaimed that "every [s]enate seat [is] now in play."
During an interview on "Fox & Friends Weekend," American Legislative Exchange Council economist Jonathan Williams slammed the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act, arguing that raising taxes and increasing spending, particularly during a recession, is "economic malpractice."
In a statement, Senator Ted Cruz, R-Tx, called the bill a "give-away to the Democrats' radical leftist base at the expense of middle-class Americans."
Cruz went on to say that the bill will likely "drive up inflation and prices, hammer small businesses and American manufacturing, increase the price of gas, and sic the IRS on Americans, all while raising taxes on Americans in nearly every tax bracket including those who make less [sic] than $400,000 a year."
Fox News reported Sunday that Senator John Kennedy, R-La, comically called the raising of taxes during both a recession and period of inflation a "special kind of stupid."
On Twitter, Marsha Blackburn, a Republican senator from Tennessee, censured Democrats for passing such a burdensome bill when inflation is the highest it has been in nearly four decades. Blackburn particularly took issue with the bill's allocation of nearly 80 billion dollars to enlarge the size of the Internal Revenue Service.
"The [Democrats'] spending spree also includes $80 billion to double the number of IRS agents -- practically giving every American a personalized tax auditor," Blackburn said in a Twitter thread. "We should be cutting taxes, not increasing them."
The House of Representatives appears on track to provide final congressional approval of the bill later this week, and President Biden has not given any indication that he will veto the bill upon its prospective arrival to his desk, according to political commentators.
However, several times throughout his campaign for the presidency in 2020, Joe Biden emphatically stated that he would "not" raise taxes on Americans earning fewer than $400,000 annually.
As of the time of publication, the Office of the Vice President has not responded to requests for comment.