“Minnesota Democrat Al Franken, the prospective 60th vote, was locked in a bitter recount battle. By the time Franken was sworn in — July 7, 2009 — Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy was too ill to participate in the legislative process. Project Vote Smart records reflect that Kennedy stopped voting on major bills in late March.
He died in late August. His temporary replacement, Democrat Paul G. Kirk, was sworn in Sept. 24 and served until the Feb 4, 2010, swearing-in of Republican Scott Brown, winner of the special election to finish the balance of Kennedy’s term.
Congressional records reflect that the Senate was in session for 72 days during the four months and one week (of the nearly 41 months Obama has so far been in office) that the Democrats actually had a filibuster-proof majority — not a particularly long time in the deliberately pokey upper chamber.”