Friday, November 07, 2008

Byrd To Step Down As Senate Appropriations Chair

Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), the longest-serving member in the history of the U.S. Senate and the oldest current member of Congress, announced today that he will resign his chairmanship of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee effective January 6.

"A new day has dawned in Washington, and that is a good thing," said Byrd in a statement. "For my part, I believe that it is time for a new day at the top of the Senate Appropriations Committee."

"I want to stress that this is a decision I made only after much personal soul searching, and after being sure of the substantial Democratic pickup of seats in the Senate. I am now confident that stepping aside as Chairman will not adversely impact my home state of West Virginia."

Byrd, who also served as Senate Majority leader for 12 years, has been in the Senate for 50 years and has been a member of the Appropriations Committee that entire time.

Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), who has also served a lengthy term on the committee, is Byrd's obvious replacement as chairman and the West Virginia Senator strongly endorsed that move.

"Senator Daniel Inouye has stood in line for many years and now his time has come," said Byrd. "He is my friend. He is a genuine American hero. He will be a skillful and fair Chairman of the Appropriations Committee because he is a man of outstanding character and great wisdom."

And Byrd took the time in his announcement to say how thrilled he is with the results of Tuesday's presidential election and to continue serving in the Senate.

"To be serving in the Senate at such a momentous time in our history fills me with enormous pride. I endorsed President-elect Obama because I believed that we had taken the wrong course both at home and abroad. I am delighted with his victory," he said"

"I thank God for the long life He has granted me and for the opportunity He has given me to assist this great country through long service in this magnificent institution, the United States Senate. I look forward to the years ahead and to making a contribution to a better, stronger America."