WASHINGTON -- Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is cutting his work schedule after becoming ill Tuesday night following the Senate vote to confirm Clarence Thomas as a Supreme Court justice, his spokesman said Wednesday.
Joseph Jamele, Leahy's spokesman, said the 51-year-old senator was taken to Arlington (Va.) Hospital Tuesday night where he underwent 'a battery of tests.'
Leahy is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which conducted a marathon four-day hearing into allegations of sexual harassment made against Thomas. The last session of the hearings ran from noon Sunday until 2:02 a.m. Monday. The Senate debate on Thomas's nomination began at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and the full Senate voted at 6 p.m.
After the vote, Jamele said, Leahy went to the NBC-TV studio for an interview.
'When he got to the set I ... saw him wince in pain,' Jamele said. 'Just before he went on I could see he was in bad shape. He rested a little bit. His fingers were numb and he had a pain in his chest and we decided to go to the hospital.'
Jamele said Leahy's wife, Marcelle, a registered nurse, accompanied the senator to the hospital. 'She took his pulse and it was normal. He was not admitted to the hospital, but was sent home for bed rest.'
Further tests are to be conducted, Jamele said, adding, 'I think the guy just went through too much.'
'He was basically told to get some bed rest and for the first time in historyhe is going to follow a doctor's orders,' Jamele said, adding that Leahy 'is cutting his schedule way back. We think now he had a cramp or a muscle spasm.'
Leahy was one of the three primary questioners for the Democrats during the extraordinary hearings, which often became heated.
Shortly after noon Wednesday, Leahy voted to override President Bush's veto of an extension of unemployment benefits. Jamele said he then canceled the remainder of the day's schedule.
A former county prosecutor, Leahy joined the Judiciary Committee in 1979. He also is a member of the Agriculture and Appropriations committees.
He was first elected to the Senate in 1974.