House Stalls Voting to Help Ailing Member
WASHINGTON — THE House postponed its legislative business for one day on Tuesday to protect the 40-year perfect voting record of Kentucky Democrat William Natcher, who is ill.
Representative Natcher, who has cast 18,397 consecutive votes since he joined Congress in 1954, said he asked House Speaker Thomas Foley (D) of Washington to postpone any votes until yesterday so he could be treated at Bethesda Naval Hospital. He has no plans to resign or to give up his chairmanship of the appropriations committee.
``This is a human institution,'' House majority leader Richard Gephardt (D) of Missouri said in announcing the postponement. He said votes would be taken yesterday on an education bill and other measures.
Representative Gephardt said Natcher had offered to postpone treatment and come vote, but House leaders agreed he should stay at the hospital.
House minority leader Bob Michel (R) of Illinois said he agreed that Natcher deserved special consideration to protect his record.
Representative Foley said he thought it was the first time that House business had been suspended to protect the voting record of a member.