God Help US!!!
A group of Senate Democrats has begun quietly exploring ways to replace the venerable Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) as chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, believing he's no longer physically up to the job, according to Democratic senators and leadership aides familiar with the discussions.
Under one scenario being circulated in Democratic circles, the 90-year-old Byrd would be named "chairman emeritus," and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) would become "acting chairwoman" for the remainder of the 110th Congress.
Democratic insiders caution, though, that no decision has been made. But there is broad discontent among committee members over the way Byrd has run the panel this year and the resulting problems in completing work on the fiscal 2008 spending bills, leading some members to privately push for Byrd's replacement as chairman.
His physical condition has been slowly deteriorating for years, and he cannot walk now without the assistance of aides. Byrd has difficultly running committee hearings, and he relies heavily on staffers for guidance. Still, he can deliver one of his legendary floor speeches on the sanctity of the Constitution and the importance of Congress in the operation of the U.S. government, even if he often repeats himself over and again.Posted by John425 at December 18, 2007 01:36 PM | Email This