Is Patrick Leahy OK? Vermont Senator hospitalized after falling ill at home in Virginia

Is Patrick Leahy OK? Vermont Senator hospitalized after falling ill at home in Virginia
According to his office, Patrick Leahy was brought to a hospital in the Washington, DC region 'for tests, as a precaution' (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades-Pool/Getty Images)

MCLEAN, VIRGINIA: Senator Patrick Leahy was brought to the hospital overnight for monitoring on Thursday because he "was not feeling well," according to a statement from his office. The most senior Democratic senator, who is third in line to become president, was brought to a hospital in the Washington, DC region "for tests, as a precaution," the statement added. The doctors treating Leahy have advised him to stay the night.

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After serving eight terms in the Senate and debating whether to seek reelection, the Vermont Democrat is stepping down at the end of the year. His career culminated in his position as Senate pro tempore and chair of the Appropriations Committee, which positions him third in the presidential succession. Leahy opened the Senate for a short session regarding the National Defence Authorization Act this week.

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Leahy, 82, was admitted to the hospital on January 26, 2021, "out of an excess of caution," after feeling unwell just a few hours after taking the oath of office to preside over Trump's second impeachment trial, and at the beginning of the Democrats' 50–50 Senate majority. He was discharged later that same day. Leahy also fractured his hip this year after taking a fall. He was mingling with reporters and Senate staff members in the Senate halls in September after returning to work this autumn.

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The office of Senator Leahy promised to "provide updates as needed." The Senate is currently on break until the midterm elections in November. Rep Peter Welch (D-VT), who will face Gerald Malloy (GOP),  is the front-runner for Leahy's seat. Meanwhile, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California) are the front-runners to follow Leahy as Senate pro tem, depending on which party holds the majority in the Senate.

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Leahy, at 34 years old, was the youngest senator from Vermont and the state's first non-Republican senator since 1856. Since the end of the Civil War, only three Democrats have served as representatives for Vermont in either house of Congress. He is the only Democrat to have ever been elected to the Senate from Vermont. He also presided over Donald Trump's second impeachment trial as the trial's chief officer, making him the first senator to do so.

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