Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc./Getty Images

While Democrats relish Kamala Harris' power to cast tie-breaking Senate votes in their favor, it has the potential to define her as vice president — and as a possible 2024 presidential contender.

Why it matters: As Senate president and a 51st vote for Democrats, Harris faces the prospect of weighing in on specific bills she would have avoided after leaving Congress. Her domestic and international travel — a key perk for the vice presidency — also could be inhibited by the need to remain close to Washington.

What they're saying: "That could be a game changer," said former Sen. Tom Daschle, "from the perspective of creating a political narrative down the road."

  • A slim Senate majority allowed Vice President Mike Pence to cast more tie-breaking votes — 13 — than any vice president in the modern era, according to the Pew Research Center.
  • One vote confirmed Betsy DeVos as education secretary. Another backed a federal judge, and a third allowed for a vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act, which ultimately failed.
  • Harris will now assume the role during only the second 50-50 split Senate during the past 60 years. Congress is facing the prospect of major legislation addressing the coronavirus, comprehensive immigration reform and voting rights.
  • While Harris would have a perspective on each as a member of a presidential administration, she may now have to cast roll-call votes just like she has during her four years as a senator.

While Joe Biden hasn't said he won't seek a second term, those votes would be fodder for potential Harris opponents in both the 2024 primaries and general election.

Daschle, who was both majority and minority leader in the last split Senate (during the first two years of the George W. Bush presidency), said potential tie votes are still relatively rare.

  • Looking ahead, the South Dakotan predicted Democrats would unify around legislation to avoid a member voting with the Republicans, a process of conciliation with progressives and other party constituencies that would benefit Harris politically.

Harris spokesperson Sabrina Singh added that Biden's long tenure on the Senate "coupled with her relationships will strengthen the Biden-Harris administration's ability to pass bipartisan legislation."

50-50 flashback: Daschle said the fate of the upcoming Senate will be driven by the relationship between future Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

  • "I had the good fortune to work with just an extraordinarily good Republican leader, Trent Lott. We became very close friends, in part because we were thrown together in that way and remain very close friends today."
  • "I don't know the degree to which that relationship will exist with the two leaders today, but that will be a big factor."

Be smart: Biden has deliberately sought to avoid embarrassing Republicans aligned with President Trump, hoping to create a productive working relationship.

  • He also has touted his long relationship with McConnell from their shared days in the Senate, which could smooth over any of the daily sniping occurring between him and Schumer.

Go deeper

Jan 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy
Scoop

White House plots "full-court press" for $1.9 trillion relief plan

National Economic Council director Brian Deese speaks during a White House news briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden White House is deploying top officials to get a wide ideological spectrum of lawmakers, governors and mayors on board with the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The broad, choreographed effort shows just how crucially Biden views the stimulus to the nation's recovery and his own political success.

18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Border Democrats want migrants vaccinated

Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Tex.) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Some Democrats representing border districts want President Biden to vaccinate migrants crossing into the U.S. — especially if he lifts public health restrictions that have prevented them from claiming asylum on American soil.

Why it matters: Inoculating migrants treads a fine line of protecting the U.S. population while possibly incentivizing more migration with the offer of free COVID-19 vaccines. Republicans are likely to pounce on that.

19 mins ago - World

State Dept. fears Chinese threats to labor auditors

A space for media is designated by Chinese authorities near a mosque in the Xinjiang region of China. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department is concerned organizations performing supply-chain audits in China are coming under pressure from Chinese authorities.

Why it matters: U.S. law prohibits importing products made through forced labor, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to verify whether products from China are tainted.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!