07.25.12

Leahy Crosses Milestone In Senate History

WASHINGTON (WEDNESDAY, July 25) -- Vermont’s U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D) late Wednesday crossed a milestone in his tenure and in Senate history as he cast his 14,000th roll call vote.

Only six other senators in history have ever met that mark and Leahy is one of the youngest to reach it.  The number of votes Leahy has cast surpasses those logged by any other sitting senator except for Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who joined the Senate in 1963.  Leahy joined the Senate in 1975.

The vote milestone was crossed when the Senate voted late this afternoon on back-to-back bills about extending tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of this year.  The first was a Republican bill to extend Bush-era tax cuts and to extend additional tax breaks to the highest earners.  The second vote – on which Leahy cast his 14,000th vote – was on a Democratic bill to extend the tax cuts set to expire in December for everyone except for households earning more than $250,000 per year.  The Republican bill failed and the Democratic version, the Middle Class Tax Relief Bill, passed, on a vote of 51 to 48.  Because of the closeness of the second vote, Vice President Joe Biden was in the chair presiding over the Senate for the milestone vote.

By coincidence, on the same roll call Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) cast his 13,000th vote.  Leahy and Lugar have closely partnered in such policy areas as foreign policy and farm policy.  They have accrued successful legislative records in part through their abilities to forge bipartisan coalitions.  Both are former chairmen of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.  Both have also headed either of the Senate’s two foreign policy committees – the Foreign Relations Committee, in Lugar’s case, and the Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on the State Department and Foreign Operations, in Leahy’s.  Leahy also chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee where he has won enactment of a wide range of landmark laws, ranging from law enforcement and national security to the first major reform of patent laws in five decades. 

A native Vermonter, Leahy and his wife, Marcelle, have five grandchildren   He has been referred to as “the cyber senator” for his enthusiasm for and work on technology policy.  In spare moments he enjoys target shooting on his tree farm in Middlesex, Vt., and photography.  He is a lifelong fan of Batman, of the Grateful Dead and of SCUBA diving.

 

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