WASHINGTON (AP) — Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy — photographer, Grateful Dead fan, star of Batman movies — is now a member of a very exclusive club. He cast his 15,000th vote on Tuesday.

"That means he's taken the largest number of votes among all of us currently serving here in the Senate," Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in paying tribute to Leahy. "It means he's taken the sixth-largest number of votes in Senate history."

Republicans and Democrats praised Leahy's work and longevity after he voted Tuesday morning on an amendment to a cybersecurity bill. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., recognized his Democratic colleague as did Vermont's other senator, independent Bernie Sanders, who called Leahy a champion for agriculture, civil liberties and the people of Vermont.

Leahy, clearly moved by the tributes on the Senate floor and the applause, recalled that his first vote was 40 years ago for a resolution to create the Church Committee that examined intelligence activities.

Leahy credited his wife Marcelle and thanked his colleagues over the years.

"I thank you for friendships that have meant more to me and my family than I can possibly say, and I look forward to continuing serving here," Leahy, 75, said to more applause.

The Vermont senator plans on seeking an eighth term next year.