Leahy Visits Hospital After Feeling Ill, Gets Released | Off Message

Leahy Visits Hospital After Feeling Ill, Gets Released

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Sen. Patrick Leahy - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy

Updated on January 27, 2021.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was taken to a Washington, D.C.-area hospital Tuesday afternoon after feeling ill at his Capitol office and was sent home hours later.

Leahy spokesperson David Carle wrote at 6 p.m. that the senator had been examined by the Capitol's attending physician while suffering from an undisclosed ailment and went to George Washington University Hospital "out of an abundance of caution."

Leahy underwent tests and an examination, then headed home. "He looks forward to getting back to work," Carle wrote in a statement at 8:30 p.m. "Patrick and [Leahy's wife] Marcelle deeply appreciate the well wishes they have received tonight."

Those wishes came from friends and colleagues, including Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). Grassley called Leahy a “tough Vermonter.”

“Barbara & I send our prayers + know he will be back to work as soon as he can,” Grassley tweeted.

Leahy, who will turn 81 in March, is the chamber's longest serving member, having been first elected in 1974. He currently chairs the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee and is often credited with steering significant amounts of federal funding to his home state.

On Wednesday morning, Leahy was back at work in the Capitol, where he opened the Senate session around 10:30. He later told reporters an intense bout of muscle spasms had sent him to the hospital. The senator said he was given a "clean bill of health."

Leahy’s health has long been a matter of speculation due in part to his gravelly voice, which his staff has long blamed on chronic laryngitis. He has already received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

His hospitalization comes at a pivotal time for both the Senate and his role in it. Vermont's senior senator was sworn in as president pro tempore last week — placing him third in line for the presidency — and he was chosen to preside over former president Donald Trump's upcoming impeachment trial. The senator presided over the body while his colleagues voted on rules for the upcoming trial on Tuesday afternoon.

On Wednesday, Leahy tweeted two photos of himself signing Trump's "official Summons" to the trial.