By Albert Eisele - 03/01/06 12:00 AM EST
Sen. Patrick Leahy officially joined an exclusive club within the world’s most exclusive club yesterday as he became only the 12th senator to cast 12,000 roll call votes.
The Vermont Democrat’s historic vote came on a motion to invoke cloture on S. 2271, the Patriot Act. He joined the minority in a 69-30 vote that overrode a threatened filibuster.
Leahy joins an elite circle that includes six other sitting senators who have cast 12,000 votes or more. That circle is led by Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), who has voted more than 17,000 times, the most ever. The others are Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), more than 14,000, and Joseph Biden and Pete Domenici, just over 12,000.
Byrd watched as Senate leaders paid tribute to Leahy, who was elected in 1974. Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called Leahy “a senator’s senator” who “can be as partisan as any senator … but he’s also a person who can be as bipartisan as any senator that’s ever served in the Senate.”
Leahy and his wife, Marcelle, capped his historic day with a champagne-and-cake reception with his staff afterward.