House pauses to save voting streak

March 02, 1994|By Knight-Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON -- In an extraordinary show of support for a hospitalized colleague in danger of missing his first vote in 40 years in Congress, the House of Representatives postponed all its business yesterday.

The decision means Rep. William H. Natcher, D-Ky., 84, who may be battling for his life, can be proud of his perfect record for at least one more day.

Since Mr. Natcher was elected to the House in 1953, he has never missed a roll call, casting 18,397 votes in a row. Yesterday, needing treatment for an intestinal problem, Mr. Natcher asked House Speaker Thomas S. Foley, D-Wash., to postpone any votes for a day.

Mr. Foley said he thought it was the first time the House had suspended voting for a day to protect a member's record.

Mr. Natcher's integrity and kind manner have earned him wide respect in the House, where he is chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee.

"I don't know of anybody in the Congress who is more respected or better liked on both sides of the aisle," said Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky.

For the past month, Mr. Natcher has been in and out of Bethesda Naval Hospital several times.

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