Harris resigns from the Senate ahead of inauguration

Kamala Harris sent a thank-you message to Californians as she resigned her Senate seat before assuming the vice presidency.

Posted: Jan 18, 2021 2:41 PM
Updated: Jan 18, 2021 3:18 PM


Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has formally submitted a letter of resignation for her US Senate seat to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, ending her four-year career in the chamber.

As Harris says goodbye to her seat, she assured Americans in an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle that her work is not done since she will preside over the chamber once she is sworn as the first female, first Black and first South Asian woman vice president of the United States on Wednesday.

"And this is not goodbye. As I resign from the Senate, I am preparing to take an oath that would have me preside over it," Harris wrote. "As senator-turned-Vice-President Walter Mondale once pointed out, the vice presidency is the only office in our government that 'belongs to both the executive branch and the legislative branch.' A responsibility made greater with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate."

Harris continued that while she will use her power as tie breaker in the Senate, she hopes she does not have to.

"Since our nation's founding, only 268 tie-breaking votes have been cast by a Vice President. I intend to work tirelessly as your Vice President, including, if necessary, fulfilling this Constitutional duty," she wrote.

"At the same time, it is my hope that rather than come to the point of a tie, the Senate will instead find common ground and do the work of the American people."

Harris, who was also the first Black woman to serve as a senator for the Golden State, won her seat in November 2016 and was sworn in January 2017. At the time, Harris was California's attorney general.

Newsom has named Alex Padilla, California's secretary of state, to fill Harris' seat. The incoming vice president has spoken to Padilla before he is sworn into the Senate, according to a person with knowledge of the discussion.

She also addressed the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol, saying that America has "two systems of justice -- one that failed to restrain the rioters on January 6 and another that released tear gas on non-violent demonstrators last summer."

Noting the elections of Senators-elect Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, Democrats from Georgia to the Senate, Harris wrote "Change is possible. For that, I am grateful and ready to get to work."

This story has been updated with additional information.

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