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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