It has been quite a year for Sen. John Danforth.

The Missouri Republican normally operates behind the scenes, but this year he found himself at the forefront of several high-profile legislative battles.

Sen. Danforth was simultaneously the lead Senate shephered for the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court and for a major civil rights bill -- tough, bruising crusades that ultimately proved successful.

Then, as Congress neared adjournment for the year, the three-term lawmaker stepped in again to launch a full-court press to extend two popular bond programs and other expiring tax provisions through June 30, 1992.

Without the extensions, ability to use mortgage revenue bonds and small-issue industrial development bonds would have expired at the end of this month.

Sen. Danforth got more than two-thirds of his colleagues to agree not derail legislation to extend the provisions by adding extraneous amendments -- a move that ultimately convinced Senate Finance Committee Chairman Lloyd Bentsen, D-Tex., and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, D-Ill., that an "extender" bill was viable.

As the Senate Finance Committee met last week to approve the legislation, Sen. Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., lauded Sen. Danforth's efforts and then added, "You ought to be nominated to be a Middle East peace negotiator."

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