Leahy Reaches A Senate Milestone: 15,000 Votes

Oct 27, 2015

Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Patrick Leahy cast the 15,000th vote of his Senate career. Leahy now ranks sixth on the Senate's all-time vote list and it is likely that he will move up to the number four spot sometime next year.

In 1974, when Leahy was first elected to the Senate, Watergate was still in the headlines, Barbara Streisand’s “The Way We Were” topped the pop charts and The Godfather: Part 2 was showing in movie theaters.  

More than 40 years later, Leahy is still in the Senate.

During Tuesday's vote, Minority leader Harry Reid interrupted the proceedings to acknowledge Leahy's accomplishment.

“Sen. Leahy, congratulations on your 15,000-vote as a United States senator,” Reid said as the chamber applauded.

Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell took the opportunity to recognize Leahy's enthusiasm for Batman and the Grateful Dead.

“I think we can safely assume he’s Vermont’s first Batman fanboy to serve as well, probably the first Deadhead as well,” McConnell said.

Leahy reflected back on his very first vote in the Senate that set up a special committee to investigate illegal activity by the CIA and the FBI.

“Now the critical issues of the post-Watergate era parallel issues that we face today,” he said.

Then Leahy cast vote number 15,001.

It was his own amendment to a cyber security bill. Leahy argued that the bill would weaken the Freedom of Information Act - known as FOIA.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, shown here during a congressional hearing in Aug. 1980, cast his first vote in 1975 to set up a special committee to investigate illegal activity by the CIA and the FBI.
Credit AP

“If we don’t oppose this new FOIA exemption, then I expect more anti-transparency language could be slipped in,” he said.

The Senate defeated Leahy's amendment by a vote of 59 to 40.