Leahy to return in time for expected budget vote

Vermont Democrat a key vote in 50-50 Senate

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., second from right, with Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., and others at a March Judiciary Committee hearing. (CQ Roll Call)
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., second from right, with Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., and others at a March Judiciary Committee hearing. (CQ Roll Call)
Posted July 29, 2022 at 2:11pm

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy will return to the Senate the week of Aug. 1 after recovering from hip surgery and will be available to vote on the revamped budget reconciliation package, his office announced Friday.

The Vermont Democrat’s return is critical because party leaders need all 50 of their members voting to pass the reconciliation measure in the evenly divided Senate, given united Republican opposition. Senate leaders hope to pass the measure as an amendment to last year's House-passed package by Aug. 5. The timing for action remains uncertain.

The No. 2 Senate Democrat, Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, will be isolating at home for several more days after testing positive for COVID-19. And the bill's authors were still scrubbing the text with the Senate parliamentarian as part of the "Byrd bath" required to ensure its provisions comply with complicated budget rules.

Leahy, 82, needed hip replacement surgery after suffering a fall in his McLean, Va., home in June. He underwent a second surgery on July 19. His office said at the time he would be available for votes during his recovery if needed.

Leahy was discharged Friday from a rehabilitation facility at which he has undertaken twice-daily physical therapy sessions for several weeks, his office said in a statement.

Before returning home Friday, he stopped at the Capitol to sign the newly passed “chips and science” bill that provides grants and tax credits for domestic microchip manufacturing. Leahy’s signature was required because he serves as the Senate’s president pro tempore.

Leahy is also chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which on Thursday released the panel’s 12 spending bills for fiscal 2023.