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Iraq spending hearing dependent on Byrdís health, sources say
The Hill ^ | 4/15/08 | J. Taylor Rushing

Posted on 04/15/2008 3:15:25 PM PDT by mdittmar

All eyes will be on Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) Wednesday. The 90-year-old senator is expected to chair a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on an Iraq war spending bill and his appearance should send “an important signal” as to whether he can continue as chairman.

But that may not happen. At least two Democratic sources said Tuesday that Byrd’s health remained a question and that staffers had taken the extremely rare step of holding off scheduling a time for the hearing. A notice finally went out at the end of the day, announcing the hearing would take place at noon on Wednesday.

Prior to the notice going out, Byrd’s spokesman, Jesse Jacobs, said that an official meeting time had not been scheduled and aides to ranking Republican Thad Cochran of Mississippi also said they were unaware of any specific meeting time for Wednesday. 

Such meetings are almost always scheduled several days in advance.

“It might not happen,” said one source prior to the notice going out. “There’s nothing concrete or firm.”

The exception in Byrd’s case is significant, another source said, noting that by not scheduling a time, it would have drawn less attention should Byrd have needed to withdraw.

The source said one possibility would be for Byrd to attend the meeting’s opening, read a brief statement, and depart.

Regardless, both sources say the hearing would be “pivotal” if Byrd indeed attends. The first source said that how he handles himself could “answer a lot of skeptics’ questions.”

The second source said: “Everybody believes he should remain in there as long as he can and as long as he’s able and tomorrow should be a signal.”

Byrd has been hospitalized twice since the beginning of the year. Last week, in a private meeting behind closed doors that touched on other subjects, 15 Democratic senators discussed whether he could continue to lead the committee.

“It is a very important hearing,” said Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “Sen. Byrd has announced that it will be held on Wednesday, and I will be there.”

Whether Byrd can or cannot attend, Durbin emphasized that Democrats will help Byrd with the heavy lifting as appropriations season starts.

"Let me tell you, we'll all be there to help — all the subcommittee chairs and other members of the committee,” Durbin said. “We want this done and we want it done professionally, and we're going to help the senator in any way that he wants."

Durbin said the topic of Byrd’s ability to handle the job “wasn't even mentioned” at a regular leadership meeting of top Democrats Tuesday morning.

Republicans continue to take a hands-off approach to this issue. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky flatly refused to comment on Byrd Tuesday morning, and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas said the GOP is not involved at all.

“It really is an issue the Democrats must be responsible for. They pick the chairmen of the committees,” she said. “We will deal with whatever the scenario is.”

Manu Raju contributed to this story.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: West Virginia; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 110th; appropriations; byrd; chaffee; defensespending; durbin; kennedy; murtha; pelosi; reid; wot
Just get a pillow turbin durbin.
1 posted on 04/15/2008 3:15:25 PM PDT by mdittmar
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To: mdittmar
"Just get a pillow turbin durbin."

If Durbin brings the pillows, Byrd will bring the sheets.

2 posted on 04/15/2008 3:16:31 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: mdittmar

The old boy is close to “buying the farm.”


3 posted on 04/15/2008 3:18:33 PM PDT by WVNan
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To: mdittmar

“We want this done and we want it done professionally, and we’re going to help the senator in any way that he wants.”

Sorry dems.....not possible.....


4 posted on 04/15/2008 3:19:33 PM PDT by illiac (If we don't change directions soon, we'll get where we're going)
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To: WVNan
Re: The old boy is close to “buying the farm.”

Hey, if we were Code Pink Democrats, we could bundle and help him buy it as soon as possible!

5 posted on 04/15/2008 3:20:13 PM PDT by Bender2 ("I've got a twisted sense of humor, and everything amuses me." RAH Beyond this Horizon)
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To: mdittmar

The 90-year-old senator is expected to chair a Senate Appropriations Committee

And I don’t want a damn word from Democrats and their accomplishes in the MSM about President McDole being too old.


6 posted on 04/15/2008 3:23:15 PM PDT by Son House (Democrat High Tax Rates Suppress Opportunity and Jobs..)
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To: Son House
Needed to be said AGAIN....

And I don’t want a damn word from Democrats and their accomplices in the MSM about President McDole being too old.

7 posted on 04/15/2008 3:27:46 PM PDT by goodnesswins (Being Challenged Builds Character; Being Coddled Destroys Character)
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To: mdittmar
K..K..K..Byrd

reliving his youthful hijinxs!

8 posted on 04/15/2008 3:33:40 PM PDT by ricks_place
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To: mdittmar

If Byrd becomes incapacitated does Congress quit and go home-—once and for all?


9 posted on 04/15/2008 4:38:56 PM PDT by Rudder (Klinton-Kool-Aid FReepers prefer spectacle over victory.)
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To: ricks_place

Byrd looks good in sheets, be they from the KKK or from a hospice for the terminally anti-American.

I wonder how many blacks Byrd’s W. Va Klanners tortured and killed during his leadership period?

There is no statute of limination on murder, facilitation to murder, or conspiracy to commit murder, mayhem, etc.


10 posted on 04/15/2008 4:40:44 PM PDT by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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To: mdittmar
So, the people's business goes undone, in this case perhaps that's a Good Thing, because an egotistical old geezer doesn't have the sense to hang it up?

Maybe we should amend the constitution to provide for yearly elections in cases where the incumbent is over 70 years old. In any other job, the boss can make you retire when you get too old, and many do that on the basis of age, rather than ability to do the work, but his "Bosses" only get the opportunity every six years. Clearly that's way too long in this sort of situation.

11 posted on 04/15/2008 4:43:47 PM PDT by El Gato ("The Second Amendment is the RESET button of the United States Constitution." -- Doug McKay)
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To: goodnesswins
And I don’t want a damn word from Democrats and their accomplices in the MSM about President McDole being too old.

Didn't your mama teach you about the difference between what you want and what you're gonna git?

Well, that lesson applies in this situtation.

BOHICA!


12 posted on 04/15/2008 4:46:01 PM PDT by El Gato ("The Second Amendment is the RESET button of the United States Constitution." -- Doug McKay)
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To: MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
I wonder how many blacks Byrd’s W. Va Klanners tortured and killed during his leadership period?

Or how many Black "ladies" he took to his bed while working in the shipyards, away from where his wife lived, while the real men of his generation were putting their a$$es on the line for our country during WW-II.

13 posted on 04/15/2008 4:48:36 PM PDT by El Gato ("The Second Amendment is the RESET button of the United States Constitution." -- Doug McKay)
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To: MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
Byrd was unanimously elected Exalted Cyclops of the KKK but never connected with murder. Byrd says he never resented blacks, Catholics or Jews, but he failed to "examine the full meaning and impact of the ugly prejudice behind the positive, pro-American veneer." - Positive Veneer!!
14 posted on 04/15/2008 5:26:10 PM PDT by ricks_place
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To: WVNan
The old boy is close to “buying the farm.”

I don't think he ever bought anything.

So little time, so much WV left unpaved 8-)

15 posted on 04/15/2008 6:35:20 PM PDT by OeOeO
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To: All

Senator Byrd Senate Session February 5 2008

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKFKR-jfkhU

If he wasn’t a former klansmen I might feel sorry for him.


16 posted on 04/16/2008 10:00:55 AM PDT by pepperhead (Kennedy's float, Mary Jo's don't!)
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