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Byrd Steps Down as Appropriations Chairman

Sen. Robert Byrd, the 90-year-old West Virginia Democrat and the Senate’s in-house constitutional scholar, is stepping down as head of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Politico reported today. Byrd said:

I have been privileged to be a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee for 50 years and to have chaired the committee for 10 years, during a time of enormous change in our great country, both culturally and politically. I have learned that nothing is quite so permanent as change. It is simply a part of living and should not be feared.

Byrd, a staunch defender of Congress’ power of the purse, first took control of the appropriations panel in 1989. Since then, he’s held the post — on and off — as the Senate majority has swung from party to party. Next in line to succeed Byrd is 84-year-old Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).

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