The Washington Post

Patrick Leahy close to milestone vote

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.). (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Milestone alert! Sen. Patrick Leahy is close to casting his 14,000th vote, a threshold that only a handful of senators have ever met.

As of Thursday morning, the Vermont Democrat was up to 13,972 votes, putting him a mere 28 votes shy of the milestone. The farm bill on the Senate floor this week, with its dozens of amendments, helped boost his stats. But our best guess is that he’ll cross the line to 14,000 sometime next week — putting him in an elite historical club.

That’s more votes than any other sitting senator — except for Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) who’s cast more than 16,000 votes since coming to the Senate in 1963. And for those really keeping score, the all-time record holder is the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.) who gave a “yea” or “nay” a whopping 18,689 times during his half-century Senate career.

Others in the 14K-plus club are former Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.), the late Sens. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), and Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.).

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.

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