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June 18, 2014, 3:59 p.m.

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) “re­turned to the Sen­ate” 7/21 a.m. “to vote against” an amend­ment cut­ting $1.75B in funds for the Air Force’s F-22 fight­er jet pro­gram, cit­ing po­ten­tial job losses in WV.

Byrd “left soon after cast­ing his vote,” but said it was “won­der­ful to be back in the au­gust body where I have served for more than 50 years, and to see all my col­leagues who have been so sup­port­ive of me dur­ing my re­cent hos­pit­al­iz­a­tion.” Byrd “had not been in the Sen­ate” since 5/15, “when he was hos­pit­al­ized for a minor in­fec­tion” and his stay “was pro­longed” un­til 6/30 “after he con­trac­ted a staph in­fec­tion.”

Byrd spokes­per­son Jesse Jac­obs said Byrd was “feel­ing very good” 7/21, and he will “ease back” in­to a re­turn to his of­fice, as per doc­tors’ or­ders. Jac­obs: “He will not rush back in­to things. He will be here on very, very im­port­ant votes. Some may say every vote is im­port­ant. But it will be up to the doc­tors.” Jac­obs said with “ma­jor” votes com­ing up on SCOTUS nom­in­ee So­nia So­to­may­or, health care and cli­mate change, Byrd “wants to en­sure he is in good health to be in the cham­ber to cast his vote on be­half of his fel­low West Vir­gini­ans” (Nyden, Char­le­ston Gaz­ette, 7/21).

Seni­or Dem aides “said the lead­er­ship team was giv­en about 30 minutes’ no­tice” of Byrd’s re­turn. Sen­ate Maj. Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) “said he was not sure how of­ten he could count on” Byrd’s vote. Durbin: “I can’t tell. He still looks like he’s re­cu­per­at­ing, and I wish him the best” (Kane, “Cap­it­ol Brief­ing,” wash­ing­ton­post.com, 7/21).

Make Way For Mini-Liberty!

Mean­while, when Byrd ar­rived at the Cap­it­ol 7/21, “his staff gave him one of the statuettes of him giv­en to base­ball fans” at­tend­ing the 7/4 game at Ap­palachi­an Power Park in Char­le­ston. Jac­obs: “He really liked it. Sen. Byrd said, ‘I am sorry I missed the game’” (Char­le­ston Gaz­ette, 7/21).

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