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Bayh Misses Votes for ‘Farewell Tour’ of State

Retiring Sen. Evan Bayh will not return to Washington, D.C., for a key procedural vote on the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in order to conduct a “farewell tour” of his state.

The Indiana Democrat’s office said he would remain in his home state Tuesday, although he does support ratification of the treaty.

“He is still in Indiana for a series of farewell events today. He is in regular touch with leadership and strongly supports START ratification,” a spokesman said.

On Monday, Bayh missed a series of votes on amendments to START. On Tuesday, Bayh also missed a procedural vote on the continuing resolution to keep the government funded. Senate sources said they only expect Bayh to come back for the vote to ratify START, which could occur Thursday. The treaty requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate.

Democrats continue to court Republican votes for the measure. GOP Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) became the latest Republican to endorse the treaty.

Bayh has said he plans to remain in Washington after his Senate term is done at the end of the year. Bayh said in a statement earlier this month that moving “would be potentially very disruptive” to his sons, who are native Washingtonians and attend high school in the area.

Bayh isn’t the only Democratic Senator to miss votes during the lame-duck session. Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) skipped votes over the weekend on the DREAM Act and the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in order attend a holiday party in his home state. Sen. Ron Wyden, who has been diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer and underwent surgery Monday, has also missed votes.

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