Susan Collins casts 5,000th consecutive vote in Senate

Posted July 12, 2012, at 3 p.m.
Last modified July 13, 2012, at 6:17 a.m.

Sen. Susan Collins cast her 5,000th consecutive roll call vote on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon, earning a round of applause and standing ovation from her Senate colleagues and speeches of praise from the chamber’s majority and minority leaders.

The 5,000th consecutive vote places the Maine Republican third on the all-time list of senators with the longest voting streaks.

Current Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, a Republican, has a longer voting streak: 6,444 votes dating to 1993. But the all-time record holder is Wisconsin Sen. William Proxmire, a Democrat who cast 10,252 consecutive votes from April 20, 1966, to Oct. 18, 1988.

Collins’ streak stretches back to Jan. 3, 1997, when she was sworn in. Her 5,000th vote on Thursday was against a motion to table a small-business tax incentive measure. The motion ultimately was tabled.

Senate business came to a brief halt on the Senate floor Thursday to acknowledge Collins’ milestone.

“We all know she’s one of the hardest-working members of the United States Senate,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Republican leader.

“It is a remarkable accomplishment,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. “I appreciate her ability to work with us, work with everybody. She is somebody, you never have to guess where she stands on an issue.”

“A lot of us have cast 5,000 votes,” Reid added, “but it is ridiculous the example she has set, never missing a vote.”

Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe issued a statement congratulating her colleague.

“Since she entered the chamber in 1997, Susan has been an inexhaustible champion for Maine, and this tremendous milestone is indicative of her unmistakable work ethic.”

According to her office, Collins cast her first vote on Jan. 22, 1997, to confirm Madeleine Albright as secretary of state. Her second vote was to confirm Bill Cohen, whom she replaced in the Senate, as secretary of defense.

Collins said in a statement that her voting streak was inspired by the late Maine Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, whose streak of 2,941 consecutive votes over 13 years is fifth longest in Senate history.

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