Kamala Harris Resigns Senate Seat Ahead of Inauguration

January 18, 2021 Updated: January 18, 2021

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris submitted her resignation from her seat in the U.S. Senate on Jan. 18, two days before Inauguration Day.

“As I resign from the Senate, I am preparing to take an oath that would have me preside over it,” Harris wrote in her resignation letter. “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.”

The California Democrat said that while she will use her power as a Senate tie-breaker, she hopes she won’t have to.

Harris noted that since the founding of the United States, “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.”

Biden transition officials said Harris is going to have a hand in Biden’s agenda.

Symone Sanders, Harris’s chief spokeswoman, told news outlets that while it’s not clear what her role will be, she has a hand in all aspects of Biden’s policies.

“There are pieces that Biden may specifically ask her to champion, but outside of that, she is at the table for everything, involved in everything, and giving input and feedback and being a supportive partner to him on all pieces,” Sanders told The Associated Press over the weekend.

“She has a voice in all of those. She has an opinion in all those areas,” Sanders said, referring to four priorities, including the U.S. economy, the CCP virus crisis, and more. “And it will probably get to a point where she is concentrating on some of the areas more specifically,” Sanders said. “But right now, I think what we’re faced with in this country is so big, it’s all hands on deck.”

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the No. 2 Democrat in the House, acknowledged that Harris will have a significant role.

“There will be a lot of weight on those shoulders,” he told AP. “Those of us who come to these positions, we come to them knowing full well that we have a burden to make sure that we do it in such a way that there will be people coming behind us.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has selected the state’s secretary of state, Alex Padilla, a Democrat, to serve out Harris’s term, which ends in 2022. Padilla, in a statement on Jan. 17, confirmed that he’s heading to D.C.