Robert Carlyle Byrd (born Cornelius Calvin Sale Jr.; November 20, 1917 – June 28, 2010) was an American politician who served as a United States Senator from West Virginia for over 51 years, from 1959 until his death in 2010. A member of the Democratic Party, Byrd previously served as a U.S. Representative from 1953 until 1959. He is the longest-serving U.S. Senator in history. In addition, he was, at the time of his death, the longest-serving member in the history of the United States Congress, a record later surpassed by Representative John Dingell of Michigan. Byrd was the last remaining member of the U.S. Senate to have served during the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower, and the last remaining member of Congress to have served during the presidency of Harry S. Truman. Byrd is also the only West Virginian to have served in both chambers of the state legislature and both chambers of Congress.
|President pro tempore of the United States Senate|
January 3, 2007 – June 28, 2010
|Preceded by||Ted Stevens|
|Succeeded by||Daniel Inouye|
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
|Preceded by||Strom Thurmond|
|Succeeded by||Ted Stevens|
January 3, 2001 – January 20, 2001
|Preceded by||Strom Thurmond|
|Succeeded by||Strom Thurmond|
January 3, 1989 – January 3, 1995
|Preceded by||John C. Stennis|
|Succeeded by||Strom Thurmond|
|President pro tempore emeritus of the United States Senate|
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Strom Thurmond|
|Succeeded by||Ted Stevens|
|Senate Majority Leader|
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1989
|Preceded by||Bob Dole|
|Succeeded by||George Mitchell|
January 3, 1977 – January 3, 1981
|Preceded by||Mike Mansfield|
|Succeeded by||Howard Baker|
|Senate Minority Leader|
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1987
|Preceded by||Howard Baker|
|Succeeded by||Bob Dole|
|Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus|
January 3, 1977 – January 3, 1989
|Preceded by||Mike Mansfield|
|Succeeded by||George J. Mitchell|
|Senate Majority Whip|
January 3, 1971 – January 3, 1977
|Preceded by||Ted Kennedy|
|Succeeded by||Alan Cranston|
|United States Senator|
from West Virginia
January 3, 1959 – June 28, 2010
|Preceded by||Chapman Revercomb|
|Succeeded by||Carte Goodwin|
|Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee|
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2009
|Preceded by||Thad Cochran|
|Succeeded by||Daniel Inouye|
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
|Preceded by||Ted Stevens|
|Succeeded by||Ted Stevens|
January 3, 1989 – January 3, 1995
|Preceded by||John C. Stennis|
|Succeeded by||Mark Hatfield|
|Secretary of Senate Democratic Conference|
January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1971
|Preceded by||George Smathers|
|Succeeded by||Ted Moss|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from West Virginia's 6th district
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1959
|Preceded by||Erland Hedrick|
|Succeeded by||John Slack|
|Member of the West Virginia Senate|
from the 9th district
December 1, 1950 – December 23, 1952
|Preceded by||Eugene Scott|
|Succeeded by||Jack Nuckols|
Cornelius Calvin Sale Jr.
November 20, 1917
North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, U.S.
|Died||June 28, 2010 (aged 92)|
Merrifield, Virginia, U.S.
|Resting place||Columbia Gardens Cemetery|
(m. 1936; died 2006)
University of Charleston
Marshall University (BA)
George Washington University
American University (JD)
Byrd served in the West Virginia House of Delegates from 1947 to 1950, and the West Virginia State Senate from 1950 to 1952. Initially elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1952, Byrd served there for six years before being elected to the Senate in 1958. He rose to become one of the Senate's most powerful members, serving as secretary of the Senate Democratic Caucus from 1967 to 1971 and—after defeating his longtime colleague, Ted Kennedy—as Senate Majority Whip from 1971 to 1977. Over the next three decades, Byrd led the Democratic caucus in numerous roles depending on whether his party held control of the Senate, including Senate Majority Leader, Senate Minority Leader, President pro tempore of the United States Senate and President pro tempore emeritus. As President pro tempore—a position he held four times in his career—he was third in the line of presidential succession, after the Vice President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Serving three different tenures as Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations enabled Byrd to steer a great deal of federal money toward projects in West Virginia. Critics derided his efforts as pork barrel spending, while Byrd argued that the many federal projects he worked to bring to West Virginia represented progress for the people of his state. He filibustered against the 1964 Civil Rights Act and supported the Vietnam War, but later renounced racism and segregation, and spoke in opposition to the Iraq War. Renowned for his knowledge of Senate precedent and parliamentary procedure, Byrd wrote a four-volume history of the Senate in later life.
Near the end of his life, Byrd was in declining health and was hospitalized several times. He died in office on June 28, 2010 at the age of 92 and became the oldest known member of congress to die in office. He was buried at Columbia Gardens Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
- 1 Background
- 2 Early career
- 3 Congressional service
- 3.1 Public service records
- 3.2 Committee assignments
- 3.3 Filibuster of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- 3.4 Vietnam
- 3.5 1968 presidential election
- 3.6 Leadership roles
- 3.7 Scholarships and TAH History Grants
- 3.8 Senate historian
- 3.9 Final-term Senate highlights
- 4 Political views
- 4.1 Race
- 4.2 Clinton impeachment
- 4.3 LGBT rights
- 4.4 Abortion
- 4.5 Richard Nixon era
- 4.6 Gerald Ford era
- 4.7 Jimmy Carter era
- 4.8 George H. W. Bush era
- 4.9 Bill Clinton era
- 4.10 George W. Bush era
- 4.11 Other votes
- 4.12 Ratings groups
- 5 Health issues and death
- 6 In popular culture
- 7 Published writing
- 8 Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
Robert Byrd was born on November 20, 1917 as Cornelius Calvin Sale Jr. in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, to Cornelius Calvin Sale Sr. and his wife Ada Mae (Kirby). When he was ten months old, his mother died in the 1918 flu pandemic. In accordance with his mother's wishes, his father dispersed their children among relatives. Calvin Jr. was adopted by his aunt and uncle, Titus and Vlurma Byrd, who changed his name to Robert Carlyle Byrd and raised him in the coal-mining region of southern West Virginia.
On May 29, 1936, Byrd married Erma Ora James (June 12, 1917 – March 25, 2006) who was born to a coal mining family in Floyd County, Virginia. Her family moved to Raleigh County, West Virginia, where she met Byrd when they attended the same high school.
Robert Byrd had two daughters (Mona Byrd Fatemi and Marjorie Byrd Moore), six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
Ku Klux KlanEdit
According to Byrd, a Klan official told him, "You have a talent for leadership, Bob ... The country needs young men like you in the leadership of the nation." Byrd later recalled, "Suddenly lights flashed in my mind! Someone important had recognized my abilities! I was only 23 or 24 years old, and the thought of a political career had never really hit me. But strike me that night, it did." Byrd became a recruiter and leader of his chapter. When it came time to elect the top officer (Exalted Cyclops) in the local Klan unit, Byrd won unanimously.
I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by my side ... Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.
In 1946, Byrd wrote a letter to a Grand Wizard stating, "The Klan is needed today as never before, and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia and in every state in the nation." However, when running for the United States House of Representatives in 1952, he announced "After about a year, I became disinterested, quit paying my dues, and dropped my membership in the organization. During the nine years that have followed, I have never been interested in the Klan." He said he had joined the Klan because he felt it offered excitement and was anti-communist.
Byrd later called joining the KKK "the greatest mistake I ever made." In 1997, he told an interviewer he would encourage young people to become involved in politics but also warned, "Be sure you avoid the Ku Klux Klan. Don't get that albatross around your neck. Once you've made that mistake, you inhibit your operations in the political arena." In his last autobiography, Byrd explained that he was a KKK member because he "was sorely afflicted with tunnel vision—a jejune and immature outlook—seeing only what I wanted to see because I thought the Klan could provide an outlet for my talents and ambitions." Byrd also said in 2005, "I know now I was wrong. Intolerance had no place in America. I apologized a thousand times ... and I don't mind apologizing over and over again. I can't erase what happened."
Byrd worked as a gas station attendant, a grocery store clerk, a shipyard welder during World War II, and a butcher before he won a seat in the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1946, representing Raleigh County from 1947 to 1950. Byrd became a local celebrity after a radio station in Beckley began broadcasting his "fiery fundamentalist lessons." In 1950, he was elected to the West Virginia Senate, where he served from December 1950 to December 1952.
In 1951, Byrd was among the official witnesses of the execution of Harry Burdette and Fred Painter, which was the first use of the electric chair in West Virginia. In 1965 the state abolished capital punishment, with the last execution having occurred in 1959.
Early in his career Byrd attended Beckley College, Concord College, Morris Harvey College, Marshall College, and George Washington University Law School, and joined the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.
Byrd began night classes at American University Washington College of Law in 1953, while a member of the United States House of Representatives. He earned his J.D. cum laude a decade later, by which time he was a U.S. Senator. President John F. Kennedy spoke at the commencement ceremony on June 10, 1963 and presented the graduates their diplomas, including Byrd. Byrd completed law school in an era when undergraduate degrees were not a requirement. He later decided to complete his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, and in 1994 he graduated summa cum laude from Marshall University.
In 1952, Byrd was elected to the United States House of Representatives for West Virginia's 6th congressional district, succeeding E. H. Hedrick, who retired from the House to make an unsuccessful run for the Democratic nomination for Governor. Byrd was re-elected twice from this district, anchored in Charleston and also including his home in Sophia, serving from January 3, 1953 to January 3, 1959. Byrd defeated Republican incumbent W. Chapman Revercomb for the United States Senate in 1958. Revercomb's record supporting civil rights had become an issue, playing in Byrd's favor. Byrd was re-elected to the Senate eight times. He was West Virginia's junior senator for his first four terms; his colleague from 1959 to 1985 was Jennings Randolph, who had been elected on the same day as Byrd's first election in a special election to fill the seat of the late Senator Matthew Neely.
While Byrd faced some vigorous Republican opposition in his career, his last serious electoral opposition occurred in 1982 when he was challenged by freshman Congressman Cleve Benedict. Despite his tremendous popularity in the state, Byrd ran unopposed only once, in 1976. On three other occasions – in 1970, 1994 and 2000 – he won all 55 of West Virginia's counties. In his re-election bid in 2000, he won all but seven precincts. Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, the daughter of one of Byrd's longtime foes, former governor Arch Moore Jr., briefly considered a challenge to Byrd in 2006 but decided against it. Capito's district covered much of the territory Byrd had represented in the U.S. House.
In the 1960 Democratic presidential election primaries, Byrd – a close Senate ally of Lyndon B. Johnson – endorsed and campaigned for Hubert Humphrey over front-runner John F. Kennedy in the state's crucial primary. However, Kennedy won the state's primary and eventually the general election.
Public service recordsEdit
Byrd was elected to a record ninth consecutive full Senate term on November 7, 2006. He became the longest-serving senator in American history on June 12, 2006, surpassing Strom Thurmond of South Carolina with 17,327 days of service. On November 18, 2009, Byrd became the longest-serving member in congressional history, with 56 years, 320 days of combined service in the House and Senate, passing Carl Hayden of Arizona. Previously, Byrd had held the record for the longest unbroken tenure in the Senate (Thurmond resigned during his first term and was re-elected seven months later). He is the only senator ever to serve more than 50 years. Including his tenure as a state legislator from 1947 to 1953, Byrd's service on the political front exceeded 60 continuous years. Byrd, who never lost an election, cast his 18,000th vote on June 21, 2007, the most of any senator in history. John Dingell broke Byrd's record as longest-serving member of Congress on June 7, 2013.
Having taken part in the admission of Alaska and Hawaii to the union, Byrd was the last surviving senator to have voted on a bill granting statehood to a U.S. territory. At the time of Byrd's death, fourteen sitting or former members of the Senate had not been born when Byrd's tenure in the Senate began, President Barack Obama among them.
These are the committee assignments for Sen. Byrd's 9th and final term.
- Committee on Appropriations
- Subcommittee on Defense
- Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
- Subcommittee on Homeland Security (Chairman)
- Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs
- Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
- Committee on Armed Services
- Committee on the Budget
- Committee on Rules and Administration
Filibuster of the Civil Rights Act of 1964Edit
Byrd was a member of the wing of the Democratic Party that opposed federally-mandated desegregation and civil rights. However, despite his early career in the KKK, Byrd was linked to such senators as John C. Stennis, J. William Fulbright and George Smathers, who based their segregationist positions on their view of states' rights in contrast to senators like James Eastland, who held a reputation as a committed racist.
Byrd joined with Democratic senators to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1964, personally filibustering the bill for 14 hours, a move he later said he regretted. Despite an 83-day filibuster in the Senate, both parties in Congress voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Act (Democrats 47-16, Republicans 30-2), and President Johnson signed the bill into law. Byrd also opposed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 but voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1968. In 2005, Byrd told The Washington Post that his membership in the Baptist church led to a change in his views. In the opinion of one reviewer, Byrd, like other Southern and border-state Democrats, came to realize that he would have to temper "his blatantly segregationist views" and move to the Democratic Party mainstream if he wanted to play a role nationally.
In February 1968, Byrd questioned General Earle Wheeler during the latter's testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. During a White House meeting between President Johnson and congressional Democratic leaders on February 6, Byrd stated his concern for the ongoing Vietnam War, citing the US's lack of intelligence, preparation, underestimating of the morale and vitality of the Viet Cong, and overestimated how backed Americans would be by the South Vietnam government. President Johnson rejected Byrd's observations. "Anyone can kick a barn down. It takes a good carpenter to build one."
1968 presidential electionEdit
During the 1968 Democratic Party presidential primaries, Byrd supported the incumbent President Johnson. Of the challenging Robert F. Kennedy, Byrd said, "Bobby-come-lately has made a mistake. I won't even listen to him. There are many who liked his brother—as Bobby will find out—but who don't like him." Byrd praised Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley's police response to protest activity at that year's Democratic National Convention, stating that the violence that resulted was the fault of the protesters, while the police only tried to restore order. Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey won the presidential nomination, and Byrd campaigned for him that fall.
Byrd served in the Senate Democratic leadership. He succeeded George Smathers as secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference from 1967 to 1971. He unseated Ted Kennedy in 1971 to become majority whip, or the second highest-ranking Democrat, until 1977. Smathers recalled that, "Ted was off playing. While Ted was away at Christmas, down in the islands, floating around having a good time with some of his friends, male and female, here was Bob up here calling on the phone. 'I want to do this, and would you help me?' He had it all committed so that when Teddy got back to town, Teddy didn't know what hit him, but it was already all over. That was Lyndon Johnson's style. Bob Byrd learned that from watching Lyndon Johnson." Byrd himself had told Smathers that " I have never in my life played a game of cards. I have never in my life had a golf club in my hand. I have never in life hit a tennis ball. I have—believe it or not—never thrown a line over to catch a fish. I don't do any of those things. I have only had to work all my life. And every time you told me about swimming, I don't know how to swim."
In 1976, Byrd was the "favorite son" Presidential candidate in West Virginia's primary. His easy victory gave him control of the delegation to the Democratic National Convention. Byrd had the inside track as majority whip but focused most of his time running for majority leader, more so than for re-election to the Senate, as he was virtually unopposed for his fourth term. By the time the vote for majority leader came, his lead was so secure that his lone rival, Minnesota's Hubert Humphrey, withdrew before the balloting took place. From 1977 to 1989 Byrd was the leader of the Senate Democrats, serving as majority leader from 1977 to 1981 and 1987 to 1989, and as minority leader from 1981 to 1987.
Byrd was well known for steering federal dollars to West Virginia, one of the country's poorest states. He was called the "King of Pork" by Citizens Against Government Waste. After becoming chair of the Appropriations Committee in 1989, Byrd set a goal securing a total of $1 billion for public works in the state. He passed that mark in 1991, and funds for highways, dams, educational institutions, and federal agency offices flowed unabated over the course of his membership. More than 30 existing or pending federal projects bear his name. He commented on his reputation for attaining funds for projects in West Virginia in August 2006, when he called himself "Big Daddy" at the dedication for the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center. Examples of this ability to claim funds and projects for his state include the Federal Bureau of Investigation's repository for computerized fingerprint records as well as several United States Coast Guard computing and office facilities.
Byrd also was known for using his knowledge of parliamentary procedure. Byrd frustrated Republicans with his encyclopedic knowledge of the inner workings of the Senate, particularly prior to the Reagan Revolution. From 1977 to 1979 he was described as "performing a procedural tap dance around the minority, outmaneuvering Republicans with his mastery of the Senate's arcane rules." In 1988, majority leader Byrd moved a call of the Senate, which was adopted by the majority present, in order to have the Sergeant-at-Arms arrest members not in attendance. One member (Robert Packwood, R-Oregon) was escorted back to the chamber by the Sergeant-at-Arms in order to obtain a quorum.
President pro temporeEdit
As the longest-serving Democratic senator, Byrd served as President pro tempore four times when his party was in the majority: from 1989 until the Republicans won control of the Senate in 1995; for 17 days in early 2001, when the Senate was evenly split between parties and outgoing Vice President Al Gore broke the tie in favor of the Democrats; when the Democrats regained the majority in June 2001 after Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont left the Republican Party to become an independent; and again from 2007 to his death in 2010, as a result of the 2006 Senate elections. In this capacity, Byrd was third in the line of presidential succession at the time of his death, behind Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Scholarships and TAH History GrantsEdit
In 1969, Byrd launched a Scholastic Recognition Award; he also began to present a savings bond to valedictorians from high schools—public and private—in West Virginia. In 1985 Congress approved the nation's only merit-based scholarship program funded through the U.S. Department of Education, a program which Congress later named in Byrd's honor. The Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program initially comprised a one-year, $1,500 award to students with "outstanding academic achievement" who had been accepted at a college or university. In 1993, the program began providing four-year scholarships.
In 2002 Byrd secured unanimous approval for a major national initiative to strengthen the teaching of "traditional American history" in K-12 public schools. The Department of Education competitively awards $50 to $120 million a year to school districts (in amounts of about $500,000 to $1 million). The money goes to teacher training programs that are geared to improving the knowledge of history teachers. The Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 eliminated funding for the Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program.
Television cameras were first introduced to the House of Representatives on March 19, 1979, by C-SPAN. Unsatisfied that Americans only saw Congress as the House of Representatives, Byrd and others pushed to televise Senate proceedings to prevent the Senate from becoming the "invisible branch" of government, succeeding in June 1986.
|Booknotes interview with Byrd on The Senate: 1789–1989, June 18, 1989, C-SPAN|
To help introduce the public to the inner workings of the legislative process, Byrd launched a series of one hundred speeches based on his examination of the Roman Republic and the intent of the Framers. Byrd published a four-volume series on Senate history: The Senate: 1789–1989: Addresses on the History of the Senate. The first volume won the Henry Adams Prize of the Society for History in the Federal Government as "an outstanding contribution to research in the history of the Federal Government." He also published The Senate of the Roman Republic: Addresses on the History of Roman Constitutionalism.
In 2004, Byrd received the American Historical Association's first Theodore Roosevelt-Woodrow Wilson Award for Civil Service; in 2007, Byrd received the Friend of History Award from the Organization of American Historians. Both awards honor individuals outside the academy who have made a significant contribution to the writing and/or presentation of history. In 2014, The Byrd Center for Legislative Studies began assessing the archiving of Senator Byrd's electronic correspondence and floor speeches in order to preserve these documents and make them available to the wider community.
Final-term Senate highlightsEdit
On July 19, 2007, Byrd gave a 25-minute speech in the Senate against dog fighting, in response to the indictment of football player Michael Vick. In recognition of the speech, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals named Byrd their 2007 Person of the Year.
For 2007, Byrd was deemed the fourteenth-most powerful senator, as well as the twelfth-most powerful Democratic senator.
On May 19, 2008, Byrd endorsed then-Senator Barack Obama for president. One week after the West Virginia Democratic Primary, in which Hillary Clinton defeated Obama by 67 to 25 percent, Byrd said, "Barack Obama is a noble-hearted patriot and humble Christian, and he has my full faith and support." When asked in October 2008 about the possibility that the issue of race would influence West Virginia voters, as Obama is an African-American, Byrd replied, "Those days are gone. Gone!" Obama lost West Virginia (by 13%) but won the election.
On January 26, 2009, Byrd was one of three Democrats to vote against the confirmation of Timothy Geithner as United States Secretary of the Treasury (along with Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Tom Harkin of Iowa).
On February 26, 2009, Byrd was one of two Democrats to vote against the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009, which if it had become law would have added a voting seat in the United States House of Representatives for the District of Columbia and add a seat for Utah, explaining that he supported the intent of the legislation, but regarded it as an attempt to solve with legislation an issue which required resolution with a Constitutional amendment. (Democrat Max Baucus of Montana also cast a "nay" vote.)
Although his health was poor, Byrd was present for every crucial vote during the December 2009 Senatorial healthcare debate; his vote was necessary so Democrats could obtain cloture to break a Republican filibuster. At the final vote on December 24, 2009, Byrd referenced recently deceased Senator Ted Kennedy, a devoted proponent, when casting his vote: "Mr. President, this is for my friend Ted Kennedy! Aye!"
Byrd initially compiled a mixed record on the subjects of race relations and desegregation. While he initially voted against civil rights legislation, in 1959 he hired one of the Capitol's first black congressional aides, and he also took steps to integrate the United States Capitol Police for the first time since Reconstruction. Beginning in the 1970s, Byrd explicitly renounced his earlier views favoring racial segregation. Byrd said that he regretted filibustering and voting against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and would change it if he had the opportunity. Byrd also said that his views changed dramatically after his teenage grandson was killed in a 1982 traffic accident, which put him in a deep emotional valley. "The death of my grandson caused me to stop and think," said Byrd, adding he came to realize that African-Americans love their children as much as he does his. During debate in 1983 over the passage of the law creating the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, Byrd grasped the symbolism of the day and its significance to his legacy, telling members of his staff "I'm the only one in the Senate who must vote for this bill".
Byrd was the only senator to vote against confirming both Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas to the United States Supreme Court, the only two African-American nominees. In Marshall's case, Byrd asked FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to look into the possibility that Marshall had either connections to communists or a communist past. With respect to Thomas, Byrd stated that he was offended by Thomas's use of the phrase "high-tech lynching of uppity blacks" in his defense and that he was "offended by the injection of racism" into the hearing. He called Thomas's comments a "diversionary tactic" and said, "I thought we were past that stage." Regarding Anita Hill's sexual harassment charges against Thomas, Byrd supported Hill. Byrd joined 45 other Democrats in voting against confirming Thomas to the Supreme Court.
On March 29, 1968, Byrd criticized a Memphis, Tennessee protest: "It was a shameful and totally uncalled for outburst of lawfulness undoubtedly encouraged to some considerable degree, at least, by his [Dr. King's] words and actions, and his presence. There is no reason for us to believe that the same destructive rioting and violence cannot, or that it will not, happen here if King attempts his so-called Poor People's March, for what he plans in Washington appears to be something on a far greater scale than what he had indicated he planned to do in Memphis."
In a March 2, 2001 interview with Tony Snow, Byrd said of race relations:
They're much, much better than they've ever been in my life-time ... I think we talk about race too much. I think those problems are largely behind us ... I just think we talk so much about it that we help to create somewhat of an illusion. I think we try to have good will. My old mom told me, 'Robert, you can't go to heaven if you hate anybody.' We practice that. There are white niggers. I've seen a lot of white niggers in my time, if you want to use that word. We just need to work together to make our country a better country, and I'd just as soon quit talking about it so much.
Byrd's use of the term "white nigger" created immediate controversy. When asked about it, Byrd's office provided this in a written response,
I apologize for the characterization I used on this program ... The phrase dates back to my boyhood and has no place in today's society ... In my attempt to articulate strongly held feelings, I have offended people that I never intended to offend.
For the 2003–2004 session, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) rated Byrd's voting record as being 100% in line with the NAACP's position on the thirty-three Senate bills they evaluated. Sixteen other senators received that rating. In June 2005, Byrd proposed an additional $10,000,000 in federal funding for the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C., remarking that, "With the passage of time, we have come to learn that his Dream was the American Dream, and few ever expressed it more eloquently." Upon news of his death, the NAACP released a statement praising Byrd, saying that he "became a champion for civil rights and liberties" and "came to consistently support the NAACP civil rights agenda".
Byrd initially said that the impeachment proceedings against Clinton should be taken seriously. Although he harshly criticized any attempt to make light of the allegations, he made the motion to dismiss the charges and effectively end the matter. Even though he voted against both articles of impeachment, he was the sole Democrat to vote to censure Clinton.
Byrd strongly opposed Clinton's 1993 efforts to allow gays to serve in the military and supported efforts to limit gay marriage. In 1996, before the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act, he said, "The drive for same-sex marriage is, in effect, an effort to make a sneak attack on society by encoding this aberrant behavior in legal form before society itself has decided it should be legal. [...] Let us defend the oldest institution, the institution of marriage between male and female as set forth in the Holy Bible."
Despite his previous position, he later stated his opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment and argued that it was unnecessary because the states already had the power to ban gay marriages. However, when the amendment came to the Senate floor, he was one of the two Democratic senators who voted in favor of cloture.
On March 11, 1982, Byrd voted against a measure sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch that sought to reverse Roe v. Wade and allow Congress and individual states to adopt laws banning abortions. Its passing was the first time a congressional committee supported an anti-abortion amendment.
In 1995, Byrd voted against a ban on intact dilation and extraction, a late-term abortion procedure typically referred to by its opponents as "partial-birth abortion". In 2003, however, he voted for the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which prohibits intact dilation and extraction. Byrd also voted against the 2004 Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which recognizes a "child in utero" as a legal victim if he or she is injured or killed during the commission of a crime of violence.
Richard Nixon eraEdit
In April 1970, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a plan to replace the Electoral College with direct elections of presidents. Byrd initially opposed direct elections on the key vote and was one of two senators to switch votes in favor of the proposal during later votes.
In April 1970, as the Senate Judiciary Committee delayed a vote on Supreme Court nominee Harry Blackmun, Byrd stated that "no nomination should be voted on within 24 hours after the hearing" after the previous two Supreme Court nominees had delays and was one of the 17 committee members who went on record of assuring Blackmun's nomination would be reported favorably to the full Senate.
In June 1970, John Sherman Cooper and Frank Church sponsored legislation that would prevent President Nixon from using funds for American military operations in Cambodia. the Nixon administration disclosed that President Nixon had written letter of support for a neutralizing amendment sponsored by Byrd that would have been offered as an addition to the Cooper‐Church amendment while allowing the president the ability to take "such action as may be necessary to protect the lives of United States forces in South Vietnam or to facilitate the withdrawal of United States forces from Vietnam."
In October 1970, Byrd sponsored an amendment protecting members of Congress and those elected that have not yet assumed office. Byrd mentioned the 88 political assassinations in the United States and said state law was not adequate to handle the increase in political violence.
In February 1971, after Fred R. Harris and Charles Mathias requested the Senate Rules Committee change the rules to permit selection of committee chairmen on a basis aside from seniority, Byrd indicated through his line of questioning that he saw considerable value in the seniority system.
In April 1971, after Representative Hale Boggs stated that he had been tapped by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and called on FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to resign, Byrd opined that Boggs' imagination was involved and called on him to reveal any possible "good, substantial, bona fide evidence".
In April 1971, Byrd met with President Nixon, Hugh Scott, and Robert P. Griffin for a briefing that after which Byrd, Scott, and Griffin asserted they had been told by Nixon of his intent to withdraw American forces from Indochina by a specific date. White House Press Secretary Ronald L. Ziegler disputed their claims by stating that the three had not been told anything by Nixon he had not mentioned in his speech the same day as the meeting.
In April 1971, Jacob Javits, Fred R. Harris, and Charles H. Percy circulated letters to their fellow Senators in an attempt to gain cosponsors for a resolution appoint the Senate's first girl pages. Byrd maintained that the Senate was ill-equipped for girl pages and was among those that cited the long hours of work, the carrying or sometimes heavy documents and the high crime rate in the Capitol area as among the reasons against it.
In September 1971, Representative Richard H. Poff was under consideration by President Nixon for a Supreme Court nomination, Byrd warning Poff that his nomination could be met with opposition by liberal senators and see a filibuster emerge. Within hours, Poff announced his declining of the nomination.
In April 1972, Senate Majority Leader Mansfield announced that he had authorized Byrd to present an amendment to the Senate for a fixed deadline for total troop withdrawal that the Nixon administration would be obligated to meet and that the measure would serve as an amendment to the State Department‐United States Information Agency authorization bill.
In April 1972, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Richard G. Kleindienst as United States Attorney General, Byrd being one of four Democrats to support the nomination. On June 7, Byrd announced that he would vote against Kleindienst, saying in a news release that this was Nixon's first nomination that he had not voted to confirm and that testimony at hearings investigating Kleindienst's tenure at the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation displayed "a show of arrogance and deception and insensitivity to the people's right to know."
In a May 1972 luncheon speech, Byrd criticized American newspapers for "an increasing tendency toward shoddy technical production" and observed that there was "a greater schism between the Nixon Administration and the media, at least publicly, than at any previous time in our history."
In May 1972, Byrd introduced a proposal supported by the Nixon administration that would make cutting off all funding for American hostilities in Indochina conditional upon agreement on an internationally supervised cease‐fire. Byrd and Nixon supporters argued modification would bring the amendment more in line with President Nixon's proposal to withdraw all American forces from Vietnam the previous week and it was approved in the Senate by a vote of 47 to 43.
In September 1972, Edward Brooke attempted to reintroduce his war ending amendment that had been defeated earlier in the week as an addendum to a clean drinking water bill when he discovered that Byrd had arranged a unanimous consent free agreement prohibiting amendments that were not relevant to the subject. Brooke charged the Byrd agreements with impairing his senatorial prerogatives to introduce amendments.
During the 1972 general election campaign, Democratic nominee George McGovern advocated for partial amnesty for draft dodges. Byrd responded to the position in a November speech the day before the election without mentioning McGovern by name in saying, "How could we keep faith with the thousands of Americans we sent to Vietnam by giving a mere tap on the wrist to those who fled to Canada and Sweden?" Byrd said the welfare proposals were part of "pernicious doctrine that the Federal Government owes a living to people who don't want to work" and chastised individuals that had personal trips to Hanoi rather than official missions as "the Ramsey Clarks in our society who attempt to deal unilaterally with the enemy."
In January 1973, the Senate passed legislation containing an amendment Byrd offered requiring President Nixon to give Congress an accounting of all funds that he had impounded and appropriated by February 5. Byrd stated that President Nixon had been required to submit reports to Congress and that he had not done so since June, leaving Congress in the dark on the matter.
In February 1973, the Senate approved legislation requiring confirmation of the director and deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget in the White House in what was seen as "another battleground for the dispute between Congress and the White House over cuts in social spending programs in the current Federal budget and in the Nixon Administration's spending request for the fiscal year 1974, which begins next July 1". The legislation contained an amendment sponsored by Byrd limiting the budget officials to a maximum term of four years before having another confirmation proceeding. Byrd introduced another amendment that required all Cabinet officers be required to undergo reconfirmation by the Senate in the event that they are retained from one administration to another.
In March 1973, Byrd led Senate efforts to reject a proposal that would have made most critical committee meetings open to the public, arguing that tampering with "the rides of the Senate is to tamper with the Senate itself" and argued against changing "procedures which, over the long past, have contributed to stability and efficiency in the operation of the Senate." The Senate voted down the proposal 47 to 38 on March 7.
On May 2, 1973, the anniversary of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's death, Byrd called on President Nixon to appoint a permanent successor for Hoover.
In June 1973, Byrd sponsored a bill that would impose the first Tuesday in October as the date for all federal elections and mandate that states hold primary elections for federal elections between the first Tuesday in June and the first Tuesday in July. Senate Rules Committee approved the measure on June 13 and it was sent to the Senate floor for consideration.
In June 1973, along with Lloyd Bentsen, Mike Mansfield, John Tower, and Jennings Randolph, Byrd was one of five senators to switch their vote on the foreign military aid authorization bill to assure its passage after previously voting against it.
In October 1973, President Nixon vetoed the request of the United States Information Agency for 208 million for fiscal year 1974 on the grounds of a provision forcing the agency to provide any document or information demanded. Byrd introduced a bill identical to the one vetoed by Nixon the following month, differing in not containing the information provision as well as a ban on appropriating or spending more money than the annual budget called for, the Senate approving the legislation on November 13.
In November 1973, after the Senate rejected an amendment to the National Energy Emergency Act intending to direct President Nixon to put gasoline rationing into effect on January 15, Byrd indicated the final vote not coming for multiple days.
In June 1974, the Senate confirmed John C. Sawhill as Federal Energy Administrator only to rescind the confirmation hours later, the direct result of James Abourezk wanting to speak out and vote against the nomination due to the Nixon administration's refusal to roll back crude oil prices. Abourezk confirmed that he had asked Byrd for notice of when he could assume the Senate floor to deliver his remarks. Byrd was absent when present members passed the nomination as part of their efforts to clear the chamber's executive calendar and rescinded the confirmation.
In May 1974, the House Judiciary Committee opened impeachment hearings against President Nixon after the release of 1,200 pages of transcripts of White House conversations between him and his aides and the administration became engulfed in the scandal that would come to be known as Watergate. That month, Byrd delivered a speech on the Senate floor opposing Nixon's potential resignation, saying it would serve only to convince the President's supporters that his enemies had driven him out of office: "The question of guilt or innocence would never be fully resolved. The country would remain polarized — more so than it is today. And confidence in government would remain unrestored." Most of the members of the Senate in attendance for the address were conservatives from both parties that shared opposition to Nixon being removed from office. Byrd was among multiple conservative senators who stated that they would not ask Nixon to resign. Later that month, Republican Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson termed Nixon "a law and order President who says subpoenas must he answered by everyone except himself," the comment being echoed by Byrd who additionally charged President Nixon with reneging on his public pledge that the independence of the special prosecutor to pursue the Watergate investigation would not be limited without the prior approval of a majority of Congressional leaders.
On July 29, Byrd met with Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, Minority Leader Hugh Scott, and Republican whip Robert P. Griffin in the first formality by Senate leaders on the matter of President Nixon's impeachment. Byrd opposed Nixon being granted immunity. The New York Times noted that as Chairman of the Republican National Committee George H. W. Bush issued a formal statement indicating no chance for the Nixon administration to be salvaged, Byrd was advocating for President Nixon to face some punishment for the illegal activities of the administration and that former Vice President Spiro Agnew should have been imprisoned. The Senate leadership met throughout August 7 to discuss Nixon's fate, the topic of immunity being mentioned in the office of Hugh Scott. Nixon announced his resignation the following day and resigned on August 9. The resignation led to Congress rearranging their intent from an impeachment to the confirmation of a new vice presidential nominee and the Senate scheduled a recess between August 23 to September 14, Byrd opining, "What the country needs is for all of us to get out of Washington and let the country have a breath of fresh air." By August 11, Hugh Scott announced he was finding fewer members of Congress from either party committed to criminally prosecuting former President Nixon over Watergate, Byrd and Majority Leader Mansfield both indicating their favoring for Nixon's culpability being left in the consideration of Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski and the Watergate grand jury.
Gerald Ford eraEdit
On November 22, 1974, the Senate Rules Committee voted unanimously to recommend the nomination of Nelson Rockefeller as Vice President of the United States to the full Senate. Byrd admitted that he had preferred sending the nomination with no recommendation but was worried the act would apply prejudice to the nominee.
In January 1975, after President Ford requested 300 million in additional military aid for South Vietnam and 222 million more for Cambodia from Congress, Byrd said Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had described the aid as "imperative" and that congressional leaders had been told North Vietnam would take over Saigon "little by little" if additional ammunition and other aid were not provided by the US to Saigon. In February, along with Mike Mansfield, Hugh Scott, and Robert P. Griffin, Byrd was one of four senators to sponsor a compromise modification of the Senate's filibuster rule where three-fifths of the total Senate membership would be adequate in invoking closure on any measure except a change in the Senate's rules. In March, while the Senate voted on reforming its filibuster rule, James B. Allen and other senators used their allotted time to speak at length and also force a series of votes. In response, Byrd said the group was engaging in an "exercise in futility" and that the chamber had already made up its mind. In April, after President Ford and his administration's lawyers contended that Ford had authority as president to use troops under the War Powers Act, Byrd and Thomas F. Eagleton objected by charging that Ford was establishing a dangerous precedent. Byrd issued a statement on the Senate floor admitting his "serious reservations" pertaining to the Ford administration's intent to bring roughly 130,000 South Vietnamese refugees to the United States, citing cultural differences and unemployment as raising "grave doubts about the wisdom of bringing any sizable number of evacuees here." In May, after President Ford appealed for Americans to support the resettlement of 130,000 Vietnamese and Cambodians in the US, Byrd told reporters that he believed that President Ford's request for 507 million for refugee transport and resettlement would be reduced, citing its lack of political support in the United States. In September, Byrd sponsored an amendment to the appropriations bill that if enacted would bar the education department from ordering busing to the school nearest to a pupil's home and sought to hold the Senate floor until there was an agreement among colleagues on his proposal. This failed, as the time limit for debating various proposals ran out. On November 10, Byrd met with President Ford for a discussion on the New York loan guarantee bill.
In April 1976, Byrd was one of five members of the Senate Select Committee to vote for a requirement that the proposed oversight committee would share Its jurisdiction with four committees that had authority over intelligence operations. In June, after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send a bill breaking up 18 large oil companies into separate production, refining and refining‐marketing entities to the Senate floor, Byrd announced his opposition to divestiture and joined Republicans Hugh Scott and Charles Mathias in confirming their votes were to report the bill. In September, Congress overrode President Ford's veto of a 56 billion appropriations bill for social services, Ford afterward telling Byrd and House Speaker Carl Albert that he would sign two bills supported by the Democrats.
Byrd was elected Majority Leader on January 4, 1977. On January 14, President Ford met with congressional leadership to announce his proposals for pay increases of high government officials, Byrd afterward telling reporters that the president had also stated his intent to recommend that the raises be linked to a code of conduct. Days later, after the Senate established a special 15‐member committee to draw up a code of ethics for senators, Byrd told reporters that he was supportive of the measure and it would be composed of eight Democrats and seven Republicans who would have until March 1 to issue a draft code that would then be subject to change by the full Senate.
Jimmy Carter eraEdit
In January 1977, after President-elect Carter announced his nomination of Theodore C. Sorensen to be Director of Central Intelligence, Byrd admitted to reporters that there could be difficulty securing a Senate confirmation. Conservative opposition to Sorenson's nomination led Carter to conclude that he could not be confirmed, and Carter withdrawing it without the Senate taking action.
Role in changes in Senate rulesEdit
On January 18, 1977, after the Senate established a special 15‐member committee to draw up a code of ethics for senators, Byrd and Senate Minority Leader Howard Baker announced their support for the resolution, Byrd adding that knowledge of the code of ethics being enacted in the Senate would be privy to the public, press, and members of the Senate. While eight of Carter's secretaries were confirmed within the first hours of his presidency, Byrd made an unsuccessful effort to secure a date and time limit for debate on the confirmation of F. Ray Marshall, Carter's nominee for United States Secretary of Labor.
Between January and February 1979, Byrd proposed outlawing tactics frequently used to prevent him from bringing a bill to the floor for consideration. He stated the filibuster tactics gave the Senate a bad reputation and rendered it ineffective. His proposals initially earned the opposition of Republicans and conservative Democrats until there was a compromise for the reform package to be split and have the less objectionable part come up first for consideration. The Senate passed legislation curtailing tactics that had been used in the past to continue filibusters after cloture had been invoked on February 22. In March, Byrd negotiated an agreement that a proposed amendment was referred to the Judiciary Committee and would be reported by April 10. The arrangement stated that Byrd could call up the proposed amendment any time following June 1 and his action would not be subject to a filibuster while the resolution embodying the amendment will.
In October 1977, Byrd stated his refusal to authorize the Senate dropping consideration of the natural gas legislation under any circumstances, predicting the matter would be settled in the coming days as a result of conversations with colleagues he had the night before and a growing disillusion with filibusters in place of action on legislation. Byrd added that the deregulation bill would not become law due to it being identical to the Carter administration's proposal and President Carter's prior statement that he would veto deregulation bills.
In May 1978, Byrd announced that he would not move to end a filibuster against the Carter administration's labor law revision bill until after the Memorial Day recess. The decision was seen as allowing wavering senators to not be cornered on their votes as lobbying efforts for both business and labor commenced and various opponents of the bill viewed Byrd's call as a sign of weakness toward the Carter administration. Byrd stated that his decision to wait was "to give ample time for debate on the measure" and that he was expecting the first petition to end the filibuster to come sometime following the Senate returning in June.
In March 1979, after Attorney General Griffin B. Bell named a special counsel in the Carter warehouse investigation, Byrd stated his dissatisfaction with the move in a Senate floor speech, citing the existence of legislation approved by Congress the previous year that would allow the appointment of a special prosecutor. In June, Director of Public Citizens Congress Watch Mark Green stated that President Carter had told him that Majority Leader Byrd had threatened that he would personally lead a filibuster against any attempt to extend controls on domestic oil prices. In response, Byrd press secretary Mike Willard confirmed that Byrd told President Carter he would not vote for cloture in the event of a filibuster. Days later, after the Senate voted to grant President Carter authority to set energy conservation targets for each of the 50 states and allow Carter to impose mandatory measures on any state that failed to implement a plan to meet the targets he set, Byrd reaffirmed his opposition to attempts aimed at President Carter's decision to remove price controls from crude oil produced within the United States. In November, Byrd stated that the United States did not have an alternative to coal when attempting to meet its energy needs and that the technology needed to turn coal into liquid fuel at a lower cost than that of producing gasoline had already been made available, opining that doing this would solve most environmental problems. Weeks later, Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate F. Nordy Hoffman sent a letter to Byrd warning him to take precautions against possible attacks by religious fanatics and nationalist terrorists and advocating for senators "vary their daily routines, take different routes to and from the Senate, exchange their personalized license plates for those that provide anonymity and be generally alert to the possibility of attack." Byrd distributed the letter to the other members of the chamber of Congress. In December, the Senate voted on a Republican proposal to limit overall Government tax revenue that would also yield an annual tax cut of 39 billion to 55 billion over the course of the following four years. Republican William V. Roth Jr. sponsored an amendment that Byrd moved to table Senator Roth's request for a budget waiver and won by five votes. The Senate narrowly blocked the proposal. By December, congressional leadership was aiming for President Carter to sign a new synthetic fuels bill before Christmas, with Byrd wanting the bill to contain a 185 billion revenue that was achieved in a minimum tax provision. Later that month, after the Senate approved a 1.5 billion in Federal loan guarantees for the Chrysler Corporation tonight after defeating a proposal to provide emergency, Byrd confirmed that he had spoken with United States Secretary of the Treasury G. William Miller about what Byrd called "excellent" chances that the Senate would complete work on a federal loans guarantees bill for Chrysler.
In August 1980, Byrd stated that Congress was unlikely to pass a tax cut before the November elections despite the Senate being in the mood for passing one.
In July 1978, Byrd introduced and endorsed a proposal by George McGovern for an amendment to repeal the 42‐month‐old embargo on American military assistance for Turkey that also linked any future aid for that country to progress on a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus problem. The Senate approved the amendment in a vote of 57 to 42 as part of a 2.9 billion international security assistance bill. Byrd stated that every government in the NATO alliance except Greece favored repeal of the embargo.
In May 1979, Byrd stated that giving Turkey a grant should not be construed as retaliation against Greece and that aid for Turkey would improve Turkey's security in addition to that of Greece, NATO, and of American allies in the Middle East. Byrd mentioned his encouragement from the report on the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities agreeing to resume negotiations on the island's future as well as reports that progress was also being made on the reintegration of Greece into NATO. Byrd furthered that American military installations in Turkey were "of major importance in the monitoring of Soviet strategic activities" and would have "obvious significance" in the goal of verifying compliance by the Soviet Union with the strategic arms treaty. The Senate approved the Turkey grant, to Byrd's wishes, but against that of both President Carter and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
On February 2, 1978, Byrd and Minority Leader Baker invited all other senators to join them in sponsoring two amendments to the Panama Canal neutrality treaty, the two party leaders sending copies of amendments recommended by the Foreign Relations Committee the previous week.
In January 1979, Byrd met with Deputy Prime Minister of China Deng Xiaoping for assurances by Deng that China hoped to unite Taiwan to the mainland by peaceful means and would fully respect "the present realities" on the island. Byrd afterward stated that his concern on the Taiwan question had been allayed. In June, Byrd opined that a decision by President Carter to not proceed with the new missile system would kill the strategic arms limitation treaty in the Senate. Byrd held meetings with Soviet leaders between July 3 to July 4. Following their conclusion, Byrd said he was still undecided on supporting the arms pact and that there had been talks on "the need on both sides for avoidance of inflammatory rhetoric which can only be counterproductive." On September 23, Byrd stated that it was possible the Senate could complete the strategic arms limitation treaty that year but a delay until the following year could result in its defeat, adding that senators might have to remain in session during Christmas to ensure the treaty was voted on before 1979's end. Byrd noted that he was opposed to the treaty being "held hostage to the Cuban situation" as American interests could be harmed in the event the treaty was defeated solely due to Soviet troops being in Cuba. In November, Byrd admitted to complaining to President Carter about Senate leadership receiving only occasional briefings about the Iranian hostage crisis and that Carter had agreed to daily consultations for Minority Leader Howard Baker, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee Frank Church, and ranking Republican member of the Foreign Relations Committee Jacob Javits. Byrd added that he did not disagree with the move by the Carter administration to admit Mohammad Reza Pahlavi for hospitalization and that the same action would extend to "Ayatollah Khomeini himself if he were needing medical treatment and had a terminal illness." On December 3, Byrd told reporters that the Iranian hostage crisis was making the Senate uninhabitable for a debate on the strategic arms treaty, noting that a discussion could still occur before the Senate adjourned on December 21 but that he did not believe he would call up the opportunity even if granted the chance. Days later, Byrd announced there was no chance that the Senate would take up debate on the strategic arms treaty that year while speaking to reporters, adding that he would see no harm in having the discussion on the treaty begin in January of the following year.
1980 Presidential electionEdit
In July 1979, Senators Henry M. Jackson and George McGovern made comments expressing doubt on President Carter being assured as the Democratic nominee in the 1980 Presidential election. When asked about their comments by a reporter, Byrd referred to Jackson and McGovern as "two very strong voices and not at all to be considered men who have little background in politics" but stated it was too early to participate in "writing the political obituary of the President at this point." Byrd added that the powers of the presidency made it possible that Carter could have a comeback and cited the events in November and December as being telling of his prospects of achieving higher popularity.
On May 10, 1980, Byrd called for President Carter to debate Senator Ted Kennedy, who he complimented as having done a service for the US by raising key issues in his presidential campaign. On August 2, Byrd advocated for an open Democratic National Convention where the delegates were not bound to a single candidate. The endorsement was seen as a break from President Carter. In September, Byrd said that Republican presidential nominee Ronald Reagan had made comments on the war between Iran and Iraq that were a disservice to the United States and that he was exercising "reckless political posturing" in foreign policy.
George H. W. Bush eraEdit
In early 1990, Byrd proposed an amendment granting special aid to coal miners who would lose their jobs in the event that Congress passed clean air legislation. Byrd was initially confident in the number of votes he needed to secure its passage being made available but this was prevented by a vote from Democrat Joe Biden who said the measure's passage would mean an assured veto by President Bush. Speaking to reporters after its defeat, Byrd stated his content with the results: "I made the supreme effort. I did everything I could and, therefore, I don't feel badly about it." The Senate passed clean air legislation within weeks of the vote on Byrd's amendment with the intent of reduction in acid rain, urban smog and toxic chemicals in the air and meeting the request by President Bush for a measure that was less costly than the initial plan while still performing the same tasks of combating clean air issues. Byrd was one of eleven senators to vote against the bill and said he "cannot vote for legislation that can bring economic ruin to communities throughout the Appalachian region and the Midwest."
In August 1990, after the Senate passed its first major campaign finance reform bill since the Watergate era that would prevent political action committees from federal campaigns, lend public money into congressional campaigns and bestow candidates vouchers for television advertising, Byrd stated that he believed the bill would "end the money chase."
Byrd authored an amendment to the National Endowment for the Arts that would bar the endowment from funding projects considered obscene such as depictions of sadomasochism, homo-eroticism, the sexual exploitation of children, or individuals engaged in sex acts while also requiring grant recipients to sign a pledge swearing their compliance with the restrictions. The October 1990 measure approved in the Senate was a bipartisan measure loosening government restrictions on art project funding and leaving courts to judge what art could be considered obscene.
President Bush nominated Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court. In October 1991, Byrd stated his support in the credibility of Anita Hill: "I believe what she said. I did not see on that face the knotted brow of satanic revenge. I did not see a face that was contorted with hate. I did not hear a voice that was tremulous with passion. I saw the face of a woman, one of 13 in a family of Southern blacks who grew up on the farm and who belonged to the church." Byrd questioned how members of the Senate could be convinced that Thomas would serve as an objective judge when he could refuse to watch Hill's testimony against him.
In February 1992, the Senate turned down a Republican attempt sponsored by John McCain and Dan Coats to grant President Bush line-item veto authority and thereby be authorized to kill projects that he was opposed to, Byrd delivering an address defending congressional power over spending for eight hours afterward. The speech had been written by Byrd two years prior and he had at this point steered 1.5 billion to his state.
In 1992, there was an effort made to pass a constitutional amendment to ensure a balanced federal budget. Byrd called the amendment "a smokescreen that will allow lawmakers to claim action against the deficit while still postponing hard budgetary decision" and spoke to reporters on his feelings against the amendment being passed: "Once members are really informed as to the mischief this amendment could do, and the damage it could do to the country and to the Constitution. I just have faith that enough members will take a courageous stand against the amendment." The sponsor of the amendment, Paul Simon, admitted that Byrd's predicton was not off and that other senators speak "when the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee talks".
In a June 1992 debate, Byrd argued in favor of the United States withdrawing accepting immigrants that did not speak English, the comment being a response to a plan from the Bush administration that would enable former Soviet states to receive American assistance and allow immigrants from a variety of countries to receive welfare benefits. Byrd soon afterward apologized for the comment and said they were due to his frustration over the federal government's inability to afford several essential services.
Bill Clinton eraEdit
In February 1994, the Senate passed a spending bill of 10 billion that would mostly be allocated to Los Angeles, California earthquake victims and military operations abroad. Bob Dole, John Kerry, John McCain, and Russ Feingold partnered together to persuade the Senate in favor of cutting back the deficit expense. Byrd raised a procedural point to derail an attempt by Dole that would approve 50 billion in spending cuts over the following five years. McCain proposed killing highway demonstration projects with a 203 million price tag, leading Byrd to produce letters written by McCain that the latter had sent to the Appropriations Committee in 1991 in an attempt to gather highway grants for his home state of Arizona. Byrd said that McCain "is very considerate of the taxpayers when it comes to financing projects in other states, but he supports such projects in his own state."
In May 2000, Byrd and John Warner sponsored a provision threatening to withdraw American troops from Kosovo, the legislation if enacted cutting off funds for troops in Kosovo after July 1, 2001, without Congressional consent. The language would have also withheld 25 percent of the money for Kosovo in the bill unless the assertion that European countries were living up to their promises to provide reconstruction money for the province was certified by President Clinton by July 15. Byrd argued that lawmakers had never approved nor debate whether American troops should be stationed in Kosovo. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the legislation in a vote of 23-to-3 that was said to reflect "widespread concern among lawmakers about an open-ended deployment of American soldiers".
In November 2000, Congress passed an amendment sponsored by Byrd diverting tariff revenues from the Treasury Department and instead allocating them to the industry complaining, the amount involved ranging from between 40 million and 200 million a year. The following month, Japan and the European Union led a group of countries in filing a joint complaint with the World Trade Organization to the law.
George W. Bush eraEdit
Byrd praised the nomination of John G. Roberts to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Likewise, Byrd was one of four Democrats who supported the confirmation of Samuel Alito to replace retiring Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Like most Democrats, Byrd opposed Bush's tax cuts and his proposals to change the Social Security program.
On May 2, 2002, Byrd charged the White House with engaging in "sophomoric political antics", citing Homeland Security Advisor Tom Ridge briefing senators in another location instead of the Senate on how safe he felt the US was.
He also led the opposition to Bush's bid to win back the power to negotiate trade deals that Congress cannot amend, but lost overwhelmingly. In the 108th Congress, however, Byrd won his party's top seat on the new Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.
In July 2004, Byrd released The New York Times best-selling book Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency, which criticized the Bush presidency and the war in Iraq.
Byrd led a filibuster against the resolution granting President George W. Bush broad power to wage a "preemptive" war against Iraq, but he could not get even a majority of his own party to vote against cloture.
Byrd was one of the Senate's most outspoken critics of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Byrd anticipated the difficulty of fighting an insurgency in Iraq, stating on March 13, 2003,
If the United States leads the charge to war in the Persian Gulf, we may get lucky and achieve a rapid victory. But then we will face a second war: a war to win the peace in Iraq. This war will last many years and will surely cost hundreds of billions of dollars. In light of this enormous task, it would be a great mistake to expect that this will be a replay of the 1991 war. The stakes are much higher in this conflict.
On March 19, 2003, when Bush ordered the invasion after receiving congressional approval, Byrd said,
Today I weep for my country. I have watched the events of recent months with a heavy, heavy heart. No more is the image of America one of strong, yet benevolent peacekeeper. The image of America has changed. Around the globe, our friends mistrust us, our word is disputed, our intentions are questioned. Instead of reasoning with those with whom we disagree, we demand obedience or threaten recrimination. Instead of isolating Saddam Hussein, we seem to have succeeded in isolating ourselves.
Byrd also criticized Bush for his speech declaring the "end of major combat operations" in Iraq, which Bush made on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. Byrd stated on the Senate floor,
I do not begrudge his salute to America's warriors aboard the carrier Lincoln, for they have performed bravely and skillfully, as have their countrymen still in Iraq. But I do question the motives of a deskbound president who assumes the garb of a warrior for the purposes of a speech.
On October 17, 2003, Byrd delivered a speech expressing his concerns about the future of the nation and his unequivocal antipathy to Bush's policies. Referencing the Hans Christian Andersen children's tale The Emperor's New Clothes, Byrd said of the president: "the emperor has no clothes." Byrd further lamented the "sheep-like" behavior of the "cowed Members of this Senate" and called on them to oppose the continuation of a "war based on falsehoods."
In April 2004, Byrd mentioned the possibility of the Bush administration violating law by its failure to inform leadership in Congress midway through 2002 about its use of emergency anti-terror dollars to begin preparations for an invasion of Iraq. Byrd stated that he had never been told of a shift in money, a charge reported in the Bob Woodward book Plan of Attack, and its validation would mean "the administration failed to abide by the law to consult with and fully inform Congress."
Byrd accused the Bush administration of stifling dissent:
The right to ask questions, debate, and dissent is under attack. The drums of war are beaten ever louder in an attempt to drown out those who speak of our predicament in stark terms. Even in the Senate, our history and tradition of being the world's greatest deliberative body is being snubbed. This huge spending bill—$87 billion—has been rushed through this chamber in just one month. There were just three open hearings by the Senate Appropriations Committee on $87 billion—$87 for every minute since Jesus Christ was born—$87 billion without a single outside witness called to challenge the administration's line.
Of the more than 18,000 votes he cast as a senator, Byrd said he was proudest of his vote against the Iraq war resolution. Byrd also voted to tie a timetable for troop withdrawal to war funding.
Gang of 14Edit
On May 23, 2005, Byrd was one of 14 senators (who became known as the "Gang of 14") to forge a compromise on the judicial filibuster, thus securing up and down votes for many judicial nominees and ending the threat of the so-called nuclear option that would have eliminated the filibuster entirely. Under the agreement, the senators retained the power to filibuster a judicial nominee in only an "extraordinary circumstance." It ensured that the appellate court nominees (Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen and William Pryor) would receive votes by the full Senate.
In 1977, Byrd was one of five Democrats to vote against the nomination of F. Ray Marshall as United States Secretary of Labor. Marshall was opposed by conservatives in both parties because of his pro-labor positions, including support for repealing right to work laws. Marshall was confirmed and served until the end of Carter's term in 1981.
In February 1981, as the Senate voted on giving final approval to the 50 billion increase in the debt limit, Democrats initially opposed the measure as part of an effort to elicit the highest number of Republicans in support of the measure. Byrd proceeded to give a signal for Democrats that saw caucus members switch their votes in support of the increase.
President Reagan was injured during an assassination attempt in March 1981. Following the shooting, Byrd opined that the aftermath of the attempt had proven there were "holes that need to be plugged" in the constitution's handling of the presidential line of succession after a president's disability and stated his intent to introduce legislation calling for a mandatory life sentence for anyone attempting to assassinate a president, vice president, or member of Congress.
In March 1981, during a Capitol Hill interview, Byrd stated that the Reagan administration was promoting an economic package with assumptions for the national economy that might take a year for the public to see its difficulties and thereby lead to a political backlash. Byrd contented that President Reagan would win approval by Congress of 35 billion to 40 billion of the 48 billion in proposed budget cuts while having more difficulty in passing his tax-cut package, asserting Democratic opposition and some Republicans having misgivings about the approach as the reason Congress would block the plan and furthering that he would be surprised if a one-year-cut in rates lasted more than year. Byrd opined that it was time for "some tax reform" that would see loopholes closed for the rich dropped to bring in revenues and expressed belief in the likelihood of the administration dismantling existing energy programs: "Energy programs are not as catchy now as budget cuts. But if the gas lines begin to form again, or the overseas oil gets cut off, we will have lost the time, the momentum, the money. Basically, they have a wholesale dismantlement of the energy programs we spent several years creating around here."
In March 1981, during a news conference, Byrd stated that the Reagan administration had not established a coherent foreign policy. He credited conflicting statements from administration officials with having contributed to confusion in Western European capitals. Byrd also said, "We've seen these statements, and backing and filling, and the secretary of state has been kept pretty busy explaining and denying assertions and pronouncements by others, which indeed indicate that the administration has not yet got its foreign policy act together."
In May 1981, Byrd announced his support for the Reagan administration's proposed budget for the fiscal year 1982 during a weekly news conference, citing that the "people want the President to be given a chance with his budget." Byrd added that he did not believe a balanced budget would be achieved by 1984, calling the budget "a balanced budget on paper only, made up of juggled figures produced out of thin air", and charged the administration with making assumptions, his comments being seen as an indication that little opposition would amount from the Democrats to the Reagan budget.
In November 1981, as Senate leaders rejected the request of Senator Harrison A. Williams Jr. to introduce new evidence during the Senate's consideration of whether to expel him for his involvement in the Abscam case, Byrd and Majority Leader Baker informed Williams that he could have a lawyer that would have to remain wordless.
On December 2, 1981, Byrd voted in favor of an amendment to President Reagan's MX missiles proposal that would divert the silo system by $334 million as well as earmark further research for other methods that would allow giant missiles to be based. The vote was seen as a rebuff of the Reagan administration.
In February 1982, Byrd wrote a letter to President Reagan urging him to "withdraw the Administration's proposed fiscal 1983 budget, and resubmit a budget that provides for much lower deficits and makes use of more realistic assumptions", recalling his previous appeal to President Carter in 1980 amid the rise of soaring inflation rates and Carter afterward consulting with Democrats in Congress. Byrd stated that he was in favor of "a document we in Congress can work with, one based on realistic assumptions, one which shows a much clearer trend toward a balanced budget." Byrd had cautious praise for a proposal by Democrat Fritz Hollings called for a freeze on all benefit programs with the exception of food stamps, Medicare and Medicaid in addition to a freeze on military spending while eliminating a pay increase for federal employees.
In March 1982, Byrd announced he would introduce an amendment to the War Powers Act that would bar the president from being able to send combat troops to El Salvador without the approval of Congress. Byrd described the proposal as only allowing the president to act with independence in the event that Americans needed to evacuate El Salvador or if the United States was attacked. "It is my view that if Americans are to be asked to shed their blood in the jungles of El Salvador, all Americans should first have an opportunity to debate and carefully evaluate that action."
By March 1982, along with Alan Cranston, Byrd was one of two senators supporting both the measure sponsored by Henry M. Jackson and John W. Warner calling upon the United States and the Soviet Union to freeze their nuclear arsenals at "equal and sharply reduced levels" and the bill sponsored by Ted Kennedy and Mark Hatfield calling upon the two countries first to negotiate a freeze on nuclear forces at existing levels before following atomic arms reduction.
In January 1983, after President Reagan said during his 1983 State of the Union Address that he hoped for the same bipartisan support that had produced the Social Security recommendations would lead Congress during the year on other issues, Byrd and House Majority Leader Jim Wright assailed the unfairness of a six-month delay in the cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients during a period of letting the wealthy reap the benefits of the general income tax cut for a third year. Byrd stated that he did not "want a six-month delay in Social Security while leaving in place the third year of the tax cut for upper-income people" and stated that Reagan's speech had been "'rhetorically good, but substantively lacking in measures that would deal now with the crises that millions of people are experiencing."
At the beginning of February 1983, House Democrats committed themselves "to an emergency economic assistance program that would create public service jobs, provide shelter and soup kitchens for the destitute and avert foreclosures of homes and farms." Concurrently, Byrd pledged to work with the House Democrats in developing legislation concerning jobs, proposing 5 billion to 10 billion be spent and introducing legislation intended to form a national investment corporation that would assist with underwriting faltering basic industries and starting new ones in areas of high unemployment.
In March 1984, Byrd voted against a proposed constitutional amendment authorizing periods in public school for silent prayer, and in favor of President Reagan's unsuccessful proposal for a constitutional amendment permitting organized school prayer in public schools.
In June 1984, Byrd was one of five Democrats to vote against the Lawton Chiles proposal to cease MX production for a year during study in search of a smaller and single-warhead missile. The 48 to 48 tie was broken by then-Vice President George H. W. Bush.
In September 1986, Byrd endorsed the death penalty for some drug pushers in anti-drug legislation that would order President Reagan to end drug trafficking within 45 days through using the military as a means of intercepting smugglers, and imposing the death penalty on those pushers who intentionally cause a death as part of their operations while providing funding for prevention, drug abuse treatment, and anti-drug laws enforcement that was estimated to cost 3 billion to 4 billion over three years. Byrd admitted that calling for the death penalty seemed harsh, but cautioned that children in some cases had their entire lives destroyed through using drugs and that Congress had been soft for too long without seeing a change in results.
In December 1986, Byrd announced that the Senate would convene a Watergate-type select committee to investigate the Iran-Contra affair the following year and that he had reached an agreement with Bob Dole for the committee to have six Democrats and five Republicans. Byrd and Dole disagreed on whether it was a necessity for Congress to be launched into a special session that month for the purpose of getting the investigative process moving. Naming members during December enabled participants to informally move ahead by selecting the staff and be prepared before the 100th United States Congress began.
In September 1988, in response to charges by Vice President Bush's presidential campaign that Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis was weak on defense, Byrd delivered a Senate speech in which he said that the Reagan administration "is living in a glass house when it throws a stone at the Democratic Party for its so-called Disneyland defense policies" and that the U.S. land-based missiles had grown in vulnerability due to the administration being "unable to produce an acceptable solution to make our missiles survivable." Byrd furthered, "Indeed, the Fantasyland exhibits of this White House's Defense Disneyland are loaded with the rejected systems that have been developed and discarded. If anything deserves the names 'Goofy' and 'Daffy' and 'Mickey Mouse,' it is those' basing proposals."
In October 1990, Byrd and James A. McClure served as floor managers for the appropriation bill for the National Endowment of the Arts, accepting an amendment by Jesse Helms prohibiting NEA support of work denigrating objects or beliefs of religions.
In November 1993, when the Senate voted to seek federal court enforcement of a subpoena for the diaries of Bob Packwood, Byrd stated the possibility of Americans becoming convinced that the Senate was delaying taking action to protect one of its own members. Byrd also called for Packwood to resign. "None of us is without flaws. But when those flaws damage the institution of the Senate, it is time to have the grace to go!" Packwood resigned in 1995.
In October 1999, Byrd was the only senator to vote present on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The treaty was designed to ban underground nuclear testing and was the first major international security pact to be defeated in the Senate since the Treaty of Versailles.
Byrd opposed the Flag Desecration Amendment, saying that, while he wanted to protect the American flag, he believed that amending the Constitution "is not the most expeditious way to protect this revered symbol of our Republic." As an alternative, Byrd cosponsored the Flag Protection Act of 2005 (S. 1370), a bill to prohibit destruction or desecration of the flag by anyone trying to incite violence or causing a breach of the peace, or who steals, damages, or destroys a flag on federal property, whether owned by the federal government or a private group or individual—can be imprisoned, fined or both. The bill did not pass.
In 2009, Byrd was one of three Democrats to oppose the confirmation of Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner. After missing nearly two months while in hospital, Byrd returned to the Senate floor on July 21 to vote against the elimination of funding for the F-22 fighter plane.
Byrd received a 65% vote rating from the League of Conservation Voters for his support of environmentally friendly legislation. Additionally, he received a "liberal" rating of 65.5% by the National Journal—higher than six other Democratic senators.
Health issues and deathEdit
On January 20, 2009, Senator Ted Kennedy suffered a seizure during Barack Obama's inaugural luncheon and was taken away in an ambulance. Byrd, seated at the same table, became distraught and was himself removed to his office. Byrd's office reported that he was fine. On May 18, Byrd was admitted to the hospital after experiencing a fever due to a "minor infection", prolonged by a staphylococcus aureus infection. Byrd was released on June 30, 2009.
Byrd's final hospital stay began on June 27, 2010, at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax County, Virginia. He died at approximately 3 a.m. EDT the next day at age 92 from natural causes.
Vice President Joe Biden recalled Byrd's standing in the rain with him as Biden buried his daughter when Biden had just been elected to the Senate. He called Byrd "a tough, compassionate, and outspoken leader and dedicated above all else to making life better for the people of the Mountain State." President Barack Obama said, "His profound passion for that body and its role and responsibilities was as evident behind closed doors as it was in the stemwinders he peppered with history. He held the deepest respect of members of both parties, and he was generous with his time and advice, something I appreciated greatly as a young senator." Senator Jay Rockefeller, who had served with Byrd since 1985, said, "I looked up to him, I fought next to him, and I am deeply saddened that he is gone." Former President Jimmy Carter noted, "He was my closest and most valuable adviser while I served as president. I respected him and attempted in every way to remain in his good graces. He was a giant among legislators, and was courageous in espousing controversial issues."
On July 1, 2010, Byrd lay in repose on the Lincoln Catafalque in the Senate chamber of the United States Capitol, becoming the first Senator to do so since his first year in the Senate, 1959. He was then flown to Charleston, West Virginia, where he lay in repose in the Lower Rotunda of the West Virginia State Capitol.
A funeral was held on July 2, 2010, on the grounds of the State Capitol where Byrd was eulogized by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Governor Joe Manchin, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Senator Jay Rockefeller, Congressman Nick Rahall, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, and former President Bill Clinton. After the funeral services in Charleston, his body was returned to Arlington, Virginia, for funeral services on July 6, 2010, at Memorial Baptist Church. After the funeral in Arlington, Byrd was buried next to his wife Erma at Columbia Gardens Cemetery in Arlington, although family members have stated that both the senator and Mrs. Byrd will be reinterred somewhere in West Virginia once a site is determined.
The song "Take Me Home, Country Roads" was played at the end of the funeral in a bluegrass fashion as his casket was being carried back up the stairs and into the West Virginia State Capitol Building.
On September 30, 2010, Congress appropriated $193,400 to be paid equally among Byrd's children and grandchildren, representing the salary he would have earned in the next fiscal year, a common practice when members of Congress die in office.
Reaction to deathEdit
Multiple political figures issued statements following Byrd's death:
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "It is almost impossible to imagine the United States Senate without Robert Byrd. He was not just its longest serving member, he was its heart and soul. From my first day in the Senate, I sought out his guidance, and he was always generous with his time and his wisdom." 
- Vice President of the United States (and therefore President of the Senate) Joe Biden: "A very close friend of mine, one of my mentors, a guy who was there when I was a 29-year-old kid being sworn into the United States Senate. Shortly thereafter, a guy who stood in the rain, in the pouring rain, freezing rain outside a church as I buried my daughter and my wife before I got sworn in ... We lost the dean of the United States Senate, but also the state of West Virginia lost its most fierce advocate and, as I said, I lost a dear friend.
- Democratic Senator Chris Dodd: He [Robert Byrd] never stopped growing as a public official, and was a man who learned from his mistakes. He was more than a friend and colleague. He was a mentor to me and literally hundreds of legislators with whom he served over the past five decades.
- Republican Senator Lindsey Graham: Senator Byrd was a valuable ally and worthy opponent. He will be viewed by history as one of the giants of the Senate.
- Republican Senator Orrin Hatch: On the issues, we were frequent opponents, but he was always gracious both in victory and defeat. This is a man who earned his law degree while serving in the Senate, and who had a prodigious knowledge of ancient and modern history.
- President Barack Obama: "He [Robert Byrd] was as much a part of the Senate as the marble busts that line its chamber and its corridors. His profound passion for that body and its role and responsibilities was as evident behind closed doors as it was in the stemwinders he peppered with history. He held the deepest respect of members of both parties, and he was generous with his time and advice, something I appreciated greatly as a young senator."
- Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell: "Senator Byrd combined a devotion to the U.S. Constitution with a deep learning of history to defend the interests of his state and the traditions of the Senate. We will remember him for his fighter's spirit, his abiding faith, and for the many times he recalled the Senate to its purposes."
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "Throughout his historic career in the House and Senate, he never stopped working to improve the lives of the people of West Virginia. While some simply bore witness to history, Senator Byrd shaped it and strove to build a brighter future for us all."
- Fellow Democratic Senator from West Virginia Jay Rockefeller: "Senator Byrd came from humble beginnings in the southern coalfields, was raised by hard-working West Virginians, and triumphantly rose to the heights of power in America. But he never forgot where he came from nor who he represented, and he never abused that power for his own gain."
In popular cultureEdit
Byrd had a prominent role in the 2008 Warner Bros. documentary Body of War directed by Phil Donahue. The film chronicles the life of Tomas Young, paralyzed from the chest down after a sniper shot him as he was riding in a vehicle in Iraq. Several long clips of Byrd show him passionately arguing against authorizing the use of force in Iraq. Later in the movie, Byrd has a one-on-one interview with Tomas Young in Byrd's Senate office, followed by a shot of Byrd walking beside the wheelchair-bound Young as they leave the Capitol.
Byrd was an avid fiddle player for most of his life, starting in his teens when he played in various square dance bands. Once he entered politics, his fiddling skills attracted attention and won votes. In 1978 when Byrd was Majority Leader, he recorded an album called U.S. Senator Robert Byrd: Mountain Fiddler (County, 1978). Byrd was accompanied by Country Gentlemen Doyle Lawson, James Bailey, and Spider Gilliam. Most of the LP consists of bluegrass music. Byrd covers "Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die", a Zeke Manners song, and "Will the Circle Be Unbroken". He had performed at the Kennedy Center, on the Grand Ole Opry and on Hee Haw. He occasionally took a break from Senate business to entertain audiences with his fiddle. He stopped playing in 1982 when the symptoms of a benign essential tremor had begun to affect the use of his hands.
- 1989. The Senate, 1789–1989, Vol. 1: Addresses on the History of the United States Senate. ISBN 0-16-006391-4.
- 1991. The Senate, 1789–1989, Vol. 2: Addresses on the History of the United States Senate. ISBN 0-16-006405-8.
- 1993. The Senate, 1789–1989: Historical Statistics, 1789–1992, Vol. 4. ISBN 0-16-063256-0.
- 1995. The Senate, 1789–1989: Classic Speeches, 1830–1993, Vol. 3. ISBN 0-16-063257-9.
- 1995. Senate of the Roman Republic: Addresses on the History of Roman Constitutionalism. ISBN 0-16-058996-7.
- 2004. Losing America: Confronting A Reckless and Arrogant Presidency. ISBN 0-393-05942-1.
- 2004. We Stand Passively Mute: Senator Robert C. Byrd's Iraq Speeches. ISBN 0-9755749-0-6.
- 2005. Robert C. Byrd: Child of the Appalachian Coalfields. ISBN 1-933202-00-9.
- 2008. Letter to a New President: Commonsense Lessons for Our Next Leader. ISBN 0-312-38302-9.
Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative StudiesEdit
In 2002, the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies (CLS) was opened on the campus of Shepherd University. Adjoining the University's Ruth Scarborough Library, the CLS "advances representative democracy by promoting a better understanding of the United States Congress and the Constitution through programs and research that engage citizens." The CLS is an archival research facility, housing the papers of Senator Robert C. Byrd in addition to the papers of Congressmen Harley O. Staggers Sr. and Harley O. Staggers Jr. and Scot Faulkner, the first Chief Administrative Officer of the United States House of Representatives. The CLS is a founding institution of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress, "an independent alliance of organizations and institutions which promote the study of the U.S. Congress." 
- Jonathan Allen (May 31, 2006). "Byrd poised to break Thurmond's record". The Hill. Archived from the original on June 14, 2006.
- Kellman, Laurie (November 18, 2009). "Senator Robert C. Byrd is Longest-Serving Lawmaker in Congress". News.aol.com. Archived from the original on November 21, 2009. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- Tom Cohen (November 18, 2009). "West Virginia's Byrd becomes the longest-serving member of Congress". CNN. Archived from the original on November 19, 2009. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
- Holley, Joe (June 28, 2010). "The Washington Post – Sen. Robert Byrd dead at 92; West Virginia lawmaker was the longest serving member of Congress in history". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 26, 2011. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
- "U.S. Rep. Dingell is longest-serving member of Congress in history". UPI. June 7, 2013. Archived from the original on June 8, 2013. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
- Memorial Addresses and Other Tributes Held in Honor of Robert C. Byrd, Late a Senator from West Virginia. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. 2012. p. 46. Archived from the original on February 16, 2017. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
- "BYRD, Robert Carlyle, (1917–2010)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Archived from the original on January 30, 2009. Retrieved January 22, 2009.
- Woodward, Calvin (June 28, 2010). "The Associated Press: Byrd's passions: Poetry, power and home-state pork". Retrieved May 30, 2014.
- "Pork or progress? Either way, Byrd changed WVa – Yahoo! News". News.yahoo.com. August 6, 2009. Archived from the original on July 2, 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
- Clymer, Adam (June 28, 2010). "Robert Byrd, Respected Voice of the Senate, Dies at 92". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 21, 2012. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- Pianin, Eric (June 19, 2005). "A Senator's Shame: Byrd, in His New Book, Again Confronts Early Ties to KKK". The Washington Post. pp. A01. Archived from the original on November 17, 2007. Retrieved October 3, 2006.
- Kiely, Kathy (June 23, 2003). "Senator takes on White House and wins fans". USA Today. Archived from the original on September 7, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- "Robert C. Byrd: A Lifelong Student". United States Congress. Archived from the original on October 31, 2008. Retrieved November 3, 2008.
- Fischer, Karin (March 31, 2006). "Erma Byrd recalled for steadfast nature, Senator's wife to be buried beside grandson in Virginia tomorrow". Charleston Daily Mail. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2009.
- "Erma Ora James Byrd". Archived from the original on January 23, 2009.
- Robert C. Byrd: U.S. Senator from West Virginia; Tributes in the Congress of the United States. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. 2006. p. 50. Archived from the original on February 16, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
- Byrd, Robert C. (2005). Robert C. Byrd: Child of the Appalachian Coalfields. Morgantown: West Virginia University Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-1-933202-00-6.
- Katznelson, Ira (2005). When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History Of Racial Inequality In Twentieth-century America. Norton. p. 81. ISBN 0-393-05213-3.
- King, Colbert I.: Sen. Byrd: The view from Darrell's barbershop Archived August 22, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, The Washington Post, March 2, 2002
- "What About Byrd?". Slate. December 18, 2002. Archived from the original on October 1, 2007. Retrieved September 17, 2007.
- "The Democrats' Lott". The Wall Street Journal. December 12, 2008. Archived from the original on March 20, 2017. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
- Byrd, Robert C. (2005). Robert C. Byrd: Child of the Appalachian Coalfields. Morgantown: West Virginia University Press. ISBN 1-933202-00-9.
- Holley, Joe (June 28, 2010). "Sen. Robert Byrd dead at 92; West Virginia lawmaker was the longest serving member of Congress in history". Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
- "Time Trail, West Virginia, February 1998 Programs". West Virginia Division of Culture and History. February 1, 1998. Archived from the original on September 2, 2007. Retrieved August 11, 2007.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 4, 2017. Retrieved April 8, 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Frater Robert Byrd Celebrates 91st Birthday". Tau Epsilon. Indianapolis, IN. November 20, 2008. Archived from the original on January 30, 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
- Lawrence, William H. (May 1, 1960). "Politics: New Campaign Tactics Emerge; West Virginia's Popularity Contest Now Takes On Deeper Meaning for the National Campaign". The New York Times.
- O'Brien, Michael (2005). John F. Kennedy: A Biography. New York: Macmillan Publishers. p. 455. ISBN 0-312-28129-3.
- Jill Lawrence and Eugene Kiely (June 21, 2007). "Another milestone for Sen. Byrd: His 18,000th vote". USA Today. Archived from the original on October 15, 2007.
- Ballhaus, Rebecca (June 7, 2013). "Dingell Breaks Record After 57 Years in House". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on October 9, 2018. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
- "Senators Who Have Cast More than 10,000 Votes". United States Senate Democratic Policy Committee Vote Information Office. January 3, 2009. Archived from U.S. Senate the original Check
|url=value (help) on May 31, 2006. Cite journal requires
- Kaufman, Burton Ira (2006). The Carter Years. Washington, DC: Facts On File. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-8160-5369-8.
- "Civil Rights Act of 1964". Find Us Law. Archived from the original on October 21, 2010. Retrieved October 6, 2008. Cite journal requires
- "Byrd Says He Regrets Voting For Patriot Act". Common Dreams. Associated Press. February 28, 2006. Archived from the original on September 19, 2006. Retrieved October 3, 2006.
- "U.S. Senate, June 10, 1964: Civil Rights Filibuster Ended". United States Senate. Archived from the original on December 2, 2009. Retrieved February 16, 2018. Cite journal requires
- Corbin, David A. (2012). The Last Great Senator: Robert C. ByrdÆs Encounters with Eleven U.S. Presidents. Potomac Books. pp. 108–109. ISBN 978-1612344997.
- The Prague Spring and the Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Lexington Books. 2009. p. 207. ISBN 978-0739143049.
- M. Schlesinger, Arthur (1978). Robert Kennedy and His Times. Houghton Mifflin. p. 858. ISBN 978-0395248973.
- "Byrd Lauds Daley, Chicago Police". Post-Herald and Register. Beckley, WV. Associated Press. August 30, 1968. p. 1. Archived from the original on June 19, 2019. Retrieved May 5, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
- Christian, Darrell (October 20, 1968). "Demos Confident They'll Again Carry West Virginia". Post-Herald and Register. Beckley, WV. United Press International. p. 11. Archived from the original on June 14, 2019. Retrieved May 5, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
- George A. Smathers. United States Senator from Florida, 1951–1969. "Interview #6: Senate Democratic Leadership." Tuesday, September 19, 1989. Interviewed by Donald A. Ritchie https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/resources/pdf/Smathers_interview_6.pdf Archived September 26, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
- "Citizens Against Government Waste: Byrd Droppings". Citizens Against Government Waste. Archived from the original on July 9, 2006. Cite journal requires
- Taylor, Andrew. "Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia dead at 92". Obituaries. Associated Press. Archived from the original on July 1, 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
- Sheryl Gay Stolberg (May 20, 2005). "DISPUTE IN THE SENATE: THE PLAYERS; Behind the Scenes, an Army of Senate Aides Takes On the Filibuster Fight". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 20, 2013. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
- "Who is the Sergeant-at-Arms, and what does he/she do? How is the position filled? Archived September 4, 2015, at the Wayback Machine" (May 3, 2003). CSPAN.
- Miriam E. Hauss (December 2003). "Senator Byrd to Receive the AHA's Theodore Roosevelt-Woodrow Wilson Award for Civil Service". American Historical Association. Archived from the original on April 2, 2006. Retrieved January 25, 2006. Cite journal requires
- "Teaching American History Program Announcement". United States Department of Education. March 6, 2009. Archived from the original on September 26, 2006. Retrieved September 27, 2006. Cite journal requires
- "Funding Status – Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program". .ed.gov. September 24, 2012. Archived from the original on October 29, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- Rachel G. Ragland and Kelly A. Woestman, eds., The Teaching American History Project: Lessons for History Educators and Historians (2009) excerpts Archived April 18, 2019, at the Wayback Machine
- Government Printing Office, 1989–94
- Government Printing Office, 1995
- Evans, M. (May 2, 2014), "Preservation Week Project: Assessing 255 GB of Senator Byrd's Digital Files Archived June 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine", History Associates (www.historyassociates.com), access date: May 30, 2014.
- Byrd called dogfighting a "brutal, sadistic event motivated by barbarism of the worst sort and cruelty of the worst, worst, worst sadistic kind. One is left wondering: 'Who are the real animals: the creatures inside the ring, or the creatures outside the ring?'"Paul Kane (July 19, 2007). "Byrd on Michael Vick: Going to Hell". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008.
- "Senator Who Was Once a Meat Cutter Praised for Giving Animals a Voice". People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. December 26, 2007. Archived from the original on December 29, 2007. Retrieved January 6, 2008.
- "Power Rank Standings". Power Rankings. Archived from the original on July 12, 2007.
-  Archived May 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- Paul J. Nyden (May 19, 2008). "Byrd endorses Obama for president". Charleston Gazette. Archived from the original on May 20, 2008.
- "Byrd on Race Issues in W. Va.: "Those days are gone. Gone!"". WSAZ-TV. October 24, 2008. Archived from the original on December 29, 2008. Retrieved December 9, 2008. Cite journal requires
- "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress – 1st Session". United States Senate. Archived from the original on June 15, 2010. Cite journal requires
- "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress – 1st Session". United States Senate. Archived from the original on February 27, 2009. Retrieved February 28, 2009. Cite journal requires
- Lisa Wangsness,"Health win in hand; hurdles ahead" Archived January 11, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Boston Globe, December 25, 2009.
- Draper, Robert (July 31, 2008). "Old as the Hill". GQ. New York, NY. Archived from the original on August 17, 2017. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
- "Old as the Hill". Archived from the original on August 17, 2017. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
- "Sen. Robert Byrd Discusses His Past and Present", Inside Politics, CNN, December 20, 1993
- "Civil Rights Act of 1964". Finduslaw.com. Archived from the original on October 21, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- "C-SPAN". Archived from the original on September 28, 2006. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- Johnson, Scott. Saying Goodbye to a Great One Archived September 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Weekly Standard, June 1, 2005.
- Byrd, Robert. Robert Byrd Speaks Out Against the Appointment of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, American Voices, October 14, 1991. Archived March 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
- "On the Nomination (Nomination – Clarence Thomas) Archived April 7, 2018, at the Wayback Machine. United States Senate.
- Nazel, Joseph (1993). Thurgood Marshall: Supreme Court Justice. Holloway House Publishing Company. p. 168. ISBN 978-0870675843.
- Senator Robert Byrd interviewed by Tony Snow, Fox News, taped on March 2, 2001, originally broadcast on March 4, 2001 (posted to YouTube on Jan 17, 2009)
- "Top Senate Democrat apologizes for slur," CNN, March 4, 2001. Archived June 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
- Senator Robert Byrd interviewed by Tony Snow, Fox News, taped on March 2, 2001, originally broadcast on March 4, 2001 (posted to YouTube on Jan 17, 2009)
- "NAACP" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 27, 2016. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
- "Robert Byrd Senate Office". Byrd.senate.gov. June 27, 2005. Archived from the original on July 2, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- "NAACP Mourns the Passing of U.S. Senator Robert Byrd | Press Room". www.naacp.org. Archived from the original on July 7, 2010. Retrieved August 27, 2016.
- "U.S. Senate". Senate.gov. Archived from the original on July 8, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- Schmitt, Eric (September 11, 1996). "Senators Reject Both Job-Bias Ban And Gay Marriage". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 20, 2013. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- Robert Byrd Senate Office Archived January 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- "Human Rights Campaign" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 31, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- "Abortion Curbs Endorsed, 10–7, By Senate Panel". The New York Times. March 11, 1982. Archived from the original on September 27, 2018. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
- "Howard Baker Trying to Tame an Unruly Senate". The New York Times. March 28, 1982. Archived from the original on September 27, 2018. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
- "HR 1833 – Partial-Birth/Late-Term Abortion Ban – National Key Vote". votesmart.org. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018.
- "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 108th Congress – 1st Session". Senate.gov. Archived from the original on October 1, 2016. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- "U.S. Senate: Roll Call Vote". www.senate.gov. Archived from the original on November 10, 2016. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
- "Senate Unit Asks Popular Election of the President". The New York Times. April 24, 1970. Archived from the original on August 16, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "Senators Put Off Vote on Blackmun". The New York Times. May 1, 1970. Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- Semple, Jr., Robert B. (June 5, 1970). "G.I.‐Pullout Plans Await End of Drive in Cambodia". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- Hunter, Marjorie. "Rush of Crime Bills Voted By Senate in Night Session". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 15, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "Harris and Mathis Ask Seniority Curb". The New York Times. February 13, 1971. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
- "Kleindienst Assails Boggs; Invites Inquiry Into F.B.I." The New York Times. April 8, 1971.
- "3 Senators Aver Nixon Said He Had Pullout Deadline". The New York Times. April 9, 1971. Archived from the original on September 15, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "3 SENATORS PRESS GIRL‐PAGE DRIVE". The New York Times. April 11, 1971. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
- "Senator Warned Poff of a Floor Battle". The New York Times. October 6, 1971. Archived from the original on August 13, 2018. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
- "New Senate War Debate Seen On Mansfield Pullout Measure". The New York Times. April 16, 1972. Archived from the original on September 17, 2018. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
- "Senate Unit, 11–4, Again Approves Kleindienst Post". The New York Times. April 28, 1972.
- "Top Democrat Asks Kleindienst Defeat". The New York Times. June 8, 1972. Archived from the original on August 13, 2018. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
- "Senator Scores Newspapers For 'Shoddy' Production". The New York Times. May 31, 1972. Archived from the original on September 17, 2018. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
- "Senate, 47‐43, Adds Cease‐Fire To Amendment to Halt the War". The New York Times. May 17, 1972. Archived from the original on September 17, 2018. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
- "PANEL RESUBMITS VETOED H.E.W. BILE". The New York Times. September 29, 1972. Archived from the original on September 17, 2018. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
- "THE 1972 CAMPAIGN". The New York Times. November 7, 1972.
- "Senate Vote Calls on Nixon To Report Impounded Funds". The New York Times. January 7, 1973. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- Naughton, James M. (February 6, 1973). "Senate Votes to Require Approval of Budget Aides". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- Rosenbaum, David E. "Senate, 47 to 38, Retains A Limit on Open Hearings". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Hoover Anniversary Is Ignored by F.B.I." The New York Times. May 3, 1973. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "PANEL PASSES BILL TO CUT CAMPAIGNS". The New York Times. June 14, 1973. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Senate Approves Military Aid Bill". The New York Times. June 27, 1973. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Senate Approves Altered U.S.I.A. Bill". The New York Times. November 14, 1973. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Senate Rejects 'Gas' Deadline". The New York Times. November 16, 1973. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Senators Hold Up Sawhill Approval". June 18, 1974. Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "LEADING SENATORS REFUSE TO PRESS NIXON ON QUITTING". The New York Times. May 14, 1974. Archived from the original on September 28, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
- "BAR LEADER URGES PRESIDENT TO HEED JUSTICES ON TAPES". The New York Times. May 27, 1974. Archived from the original on September 28, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
- Madden, Richard L. "Senate Leaders Prepare". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "Decline in Senate". The New York Times. August 7, 1974. Archived from the original on September 28, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
- Rosenbaum, David E. (August 8, 1974). "Senators Unable to Agree On Any Move Over Nixon". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 28, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
- "Nixon Resigns". The Washington Post. The Watergate Story. Archived from the original on November 25, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2011.
- "Congress Will Shift Focus To Vice‐Presidency Vote". The New York Times. August 11, 1974. Archived from the original on September 28, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
- "Scott Says Capitol Leaders Oppose Nixon Prosecution". The New York Times. August 11, 1974. Archived from the original on September 21, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
- "SENATE PANEL,9‐0, BACKS ROCKEFELLER FORCONFIRMATION". The New York Times. November 23, 1974. Archived from the original on August 13, 2018. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
- "NEW INDOCHINA AID IS ASKED BY FORD". The New York Times. January 29, 1975. Archived from the original on August 14, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
- "Leaders in Senate Back a Compromise On Filibuster Rule". The New York Times. March 1, 1975. Archived from the original on August 14, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
- "Filibuster Rule Reformed By Senate in 56‐27 Vote". The New York Times. March 8, 1975. Archived from the original on August 14, 2018. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
- "Embassy in Saigon Told To Begin Staff Reduction". The New York Times. April 11, 1975. Archived from the original on August 14, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
- "Military Bases in Arkansas, Florida, California to House Refugees". The New York Times. April 29, 1975. Archived from the original on August 14, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
- Binder, David (May 7, 1975). "FORD ASKS NATION TO OPEN ITS DOORS TO THE REFUGEES". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 13, 2018. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
- Madden, Richard L. "Senate Liberals Fail to Shut Off Debate On a Measure That Would Curb Busing". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 14, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
- Tolchin, Martin. "CITY‐AID MEASURE GAINS IN SENATE". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 14, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
- "Panel Trims Intelligence Oversight Plan". The New York Times. April 28, 1976.
- Cowan, Edward. "Oil Breakup Bill Goes to Senate". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 14, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
- Lyons, Richard D. (October 1, 1976). "Congress Overrides Ford's Veto of Bill on Social Services". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 14, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
- "Senate Democrats Pick Byrd as Leader; GOP Elects Baker". The New York Times. January 5, 1977. Archived from the original on August 14, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
- "Ford to Ask Pay Rise for Major Officials, Congress Chiefs Say". The New York Times. January 15, 1977. Archived from the original on August 14, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
- "15‐Member Panel Named To Draft Ethics Code". The New York Times. January 19, 1977. Archived from the original on August 14, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
- "SORENSEN APPROVAL BY SENATE AS HEAD OF C.I.A. IS IN DOUBT". The New York Times. January 16, 1977. Archived from the original on August 17, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
- "Ted Sorensen, JFK's speechwriter and confidant, dies at 82". The Guardian. London, UK. Associated Press. November 1, 2010. Archived from the original on September 27, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
- Weaver, Jr., Warren (January 21, 1977). "10 Carter Nominees Are Approved, But Action Is Delayed on Others". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 17, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
- "Senate Votes to Cut Post‐Cloture Debate to 100 Hours". The New York Times. February 23, 1979. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Carter Legislation on Elections Gets Off to a Shaky Start in Congress". The New York Times. March 16, 1979. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Byrd Vows Senate Will Vote on Energy Despite Filibuster". The New York Times. October 2, 1977. Archived from the original on August 17, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
- "Byrd Says He'll Postpone Action on Labor Filibuster". Washington Post. May 19, 1978.
- "8 Senate Republicans Attack Bell For Not Appointing a Prosecutor". The New York Times. March 23, 1979. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "CARTER CASTIGATES MOBIL ON DECONTROL". The New York Times. June 2, 1979. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Senate Votes to Let Carter Set State Energy Targets". The New York Times. June 6, 1979. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Byrd Says Nation Has No Choice But to Switch to Coal for Energy". The New York Times. November 18, 1979. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Senators Warned of Terrorist Acts". The New York Times. November 30, 1979. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Senate Bars Consideration of Tax Cut". The New York Times. December 6, 1979. Archived from the original on September 20, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Delays Loom for Fuel Bill". The New York Times. December 12, 1979. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "SENATE, BY 53 TO 44, BACKS CHRYSLER AID; INTERIM HELP LOSES". The New York Times. December 20, 1979. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Byrd Doubts Approval Of Tax Cut by November". The New York Times. August 24, 1980. Archived from the original on August 17, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
- Hovey, Graham. "SENATE ACTS TO LIFT ARMS BAN ON TURKS, BUT ADDS WARNING". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 17, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
- Hovey, Graham (May 23, 1979). "Senate Votes to Make $50 Million for Turkey a Grant". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Byrd and Baker Bid Colleagues Co‐Sponsor 2 Canal Amendments". The New York Times. February 3, 1978. Archived from the original on August 17, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
- "Teng, on Capitol Hill, Says Peking Must Keep Taiwan Options Open". The New York Times. January 31, 1979. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Soviet Cautions U.S. on MX Deployment". The New York Times. June 11, 1979. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- Whitney, Craig R. "Senator Byrd, Leaving Soviet, Says He Is Still Undecided on Arms Pact". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Byrd Says Arms Pact Could Still Be Acted on in '79". The New York Times. September 23, 1979. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Byrd Says Carter Agrees To Consult Him on Iran". The New York Times. November 18, 1979. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "IRAN ISSUE DETRACTS FROM ARMS TREATY". The New York Times. December 4, 1979. Archived from the original on September 20, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Byrd Sees No Arms Debate in '79". The New York Times. December 7, 1979. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Byrd Says It's Too Soon To Count Out President". The New York Times. July 29, 1979. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Byrd Urges President to Face Kennedy in a Debate". The New York Times. May 10, 1980. Archived from the original on August 17, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
- "BYRD SAYS HE BACKS 'OPEN' CONVENTION; ASSAILS LIBYAN CASE; JUDGMENT OF CARTER FAULTED Senator Calls Moves 'Amateurish' but Expects President to Win Democratic Nomination Response From the White House Criticism of Libya Matter More Messages Released BYRD SAYS HE BACKS 'OPEN' CONVENTION". The New York Times. August 3, 1980. Archived from the original on August 16, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
- "Byrd Accuses Reagan of 'Reckless Posturing' on War; 'The Wrong Signal'". The New York Times. September 28, 1980. Archived from the original on August 17, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
- "Senate Rejects Plan on Aid to Miners". The New York Times. March 30, 1990. Archived from the original on May 25, 2015. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- Ross, Michael (March 30, 1990). "Senate Kills Obstacle to Clean Air Bill Passage : Congress: Byrd's costly plan to aid coal miners is defeated on 50–49 vote after fierce White House lobbying. It would have brought a Bush veto". Los Angeles Times.
- "Senators Approve Clean Air Measure by a Vote of 89–11". April 4, 1990. Archived from the original on August 26, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "Senate Votes to Curb Donations From Outside Campaign Groups". The New York Times. August 2, 1990. Archived from the original on January 5, 2019. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
- "Senate votes to loosen NEA restrictions". The New York Times. October 24, 1990. Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "THE THOMAS NOMINATION; Senators Who Switched Tell of Political Torment". The New York Times. October 16, 1991. Archived from the original on February 7, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "Senate Rejects a Line-Item Veto". The New York Times. February 28, 1992. Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "Byrd Predicts Senate Will Defeat Amendment for Balanced Budget". The New York Times. June 3, 1992. Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "Remark on Immigrants Brings Byrd's Apology". The New York Times. June 27, 1992. Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "Senate Votes a Quake Relief Measure". The New York Times. February 11, 1994. Archived from the original on October 4, 2018. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
- "Senators Seek Vote in Congress On Extending Kosovo Mission". The New York Times. May 10, 2000. Archived from the original on September 24, 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
- "Group of Countries Protest U.S. Change in Dumping". The New York Times. December 22, 2000. Archived from the original on September 20, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
- Roll Call Vote 109th Congress – 2nd Session (on the confirmation of Samuel Alito of New Jersey) Archived March 21, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, United States Senate, January 31, 2006. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
- Kirkpatrick, David D. (February 1, 2006). "Alito Sworn In as Justice After Senate Gives Approval". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 8, 2018. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
- "Byrd: White House pulling stunts". UPI. May 2, 2002. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
- "Senate approves Iraq war resolution Archived October 16, 2015, at the Wayback Machine" (October 11, 2002). CNN.
- "Senator Byrd – Senate Speeches". Byrd.senate.gov. March 13, 2003. Archived from the original on August 25, 2005. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- Byrd, Robert (March 23, 2003), Why I weep for my country Archived December 1, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. The Observer.
- Richard W. Stevenson, AFTEREFFECTS: THE PRESIDENT; White House Clarifies Bush's Carrier Landing Archived November 28, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times (May 7, 2003).
- "THE STRUGGLE FOR IRAQ; Byrd Questions Use Of Money for Iraq". The New York Times. April 21, 2004. Archived from the original on August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
- "CNN". CNN. June 12, 2006. Archived from the original on July 6, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- Rudin, Ken (January 4, 2006). "Judging Alito: The Gang of 14 Factor". NPR. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
- "Senate Roll‐Call Vote Approving Marshall". January 27, 1977. Archived from the original on March 19, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
- Tolchin, Martin (February 7, 1981). "SENATE VOTES RAISE IN U.S. DEBT CEILING". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 23, 2018. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
- "Byrd Sees a Need to Alter Rules On Succession to the Presidency". The New York Times. April 6, 1981. Archived from the original on September 23, 2018. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
- "BYRD CALLS REAGAN FISCAL PLAN 'ROSY' AND SEES TAX CUT HELD TO ONE YEAR". The New York Times. March 14, 1981. Archived from the original on September 23, 2018. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
- "Senate Democratic leader Robert Byrd says no one is..." UPI. March 23, 1981. Archived from the original on September 26, 2018. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
- "DESPITE DOUBTS, BYRD WILL BACK REAGAN'S BUDGET". The New York Times. May 3, 1981. Archived from the original on August 13, 2018. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
- "THE REGION; Williams Spurned On New Evidence". The New York Times. November 19, 1981. Archived from the original on September 26, 2018. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
- "The 90–4 vote by which the Senate approved the..." UPI. December 3, 1981. Archived from the original on March 7, 2018. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
- Roberts, Steven V. (December 3, 1981). "Senators Reject Plan for Replacing MX Missile in Silos". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 7, 2018. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
- Webbe, Stephen (December 4, 1981). "Reagan scorns Senate rejection of silo-based MX missile plan". The Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on March 7, 2018. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
- "BYRD ASKS PRESIDENT TO RESUBMIT HIS 1983 BUDGET". The New York Times. February 11, 1982. Archived from the original on September 23, 2018. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
- "Byrd Seeking to Bar U.S. Combat Troops from Salvador War". The New York Times. March 7, 1982. Archived from the original on August 13, 2018. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
- Miller, Judith (March 31, 1982). "58 SENATORS BACK ALTERNATIVE PLAN ON NUCLEAR ARMS". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 23, 2018. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
- Tolchin, Martin. "DEMOCRATS SAY ANY PENSION SHIFT SHOULD MEAN A CHANGE IN TAX CUT". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 23, 2018. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
- "ALL HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CHIEFS ASK EMERGENCY JOBS AND AID PROGRAM". The New York Times. February 2, 1983. Archived from the original on September 24, 2018. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
- "SENATE VOTE ON SCHOOL PRAYER". The New York Times. March 16, 1984. Archived from the original on March 15, 2018. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
- "AMENDMENT DRIVE ON SCHOOL PRAYER LOSES SENATE VOTE". The New York Times. March 21, 1984. Archived from the original on March 15, 2018. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
- "SENATE'S ROLL-CALL ON SCHOOL PRAYER". March 21, 1984. Archived from the original on March 15, 2018. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
- "The 49–48 vote by which the Senate tabled a..." UPI. June 14, 1984. Archived from the original on March 20, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
- "Reagan, Byrd endorse death penalty in anti-drug law". UPI. September 12, 1986. Archived from the original on September 26, 2018. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
- "Senate Will Convene Watergate-Style Panel". Los Angeles Times. December 4, 1986.
- "Byrd: Reagan missile plans 'goofy'". UPI. September 14, 1988. Archived from the original on September 26, 2018. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
- "Senate Defeats Attempts by Helms to Cut Art Funding : Congress: A proposal to relax current restrictions on the National Endowment for the Arts passes easily". Los Angeles Times. October 25, 1990. Archived from the original on June 3, 2016. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
- Eaton, William J. (November 3, 1993). "Senate Votes for Subpoena of Full Packwood Diaries : Politics: Lopsided ballot lets ethics panel seek access to memoirs. Papers sought for sex harassment inquiry". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 20, 2018. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
- Seelye, Katharine Q. (September 8, 1995). "The Packwood Case: The Overview; Packwood Says he is Quitting as Ethics Panel Gives Evidence". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
- Schmitt, Eric (October 14, 1999). "DEFEAT OF A TREATY: THE OVERVIEW; SENATE KILLS TEST BAN TREATY IN CRUSHING LOSS FOR CLINTON; EVOKES VERSAILLES PACT DEFEAT". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 14, 2018. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
- Dewar, Helen (October 14, 1999). "Senate Rejects Test Ban Treaty". Washington Post. Archived from the original on February 27, 2018. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
- "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Senate.gov. Archived from the original on May 31, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- "Sen. Byrd Back on the Senate Floor". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- "2009 National Environmental Scorecard". Capwiz.com. Archived from the original on January 6, 2009. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- "The Centrists" (PDF). National Journal. February 25, 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 27, 2009. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- "ACLU Congressional Scorecard: Senator Robert 'Bob' C. Byrd". American Civil Liberties Union. Archived from the original on November 24, 2010. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
- "Lionized in Winter". Time. May 29, 2003. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
- Leibovich, Mark (December 24, 2009). "Despite Fragile Health, Byrd Is Present for Votes". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 18, 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
- "Sen. Robert Byrd, 90, admitted to hospital". CNN. February 26, 2008. Archived from the original on February 27, 2008. Retrieved February 27, 2008.
- J. Taylor Rushing, On June 2, the television network MSNBC reported that Byrd had once again been admitted to the hospital suffering from lethargy and a fever."Byrd sent back to hospital", The Hill, March 5, 2008
- "Spokesman says Sen. Robert C. Byrd hospitalized". Yahoo. June 2, 2008. Archived from the original on June 5, 2008.
- "After third hospital stay, Byrd back to business". The Hill. June 18, 2008. Archived from the original on June 24, 2008.
- Farby, Julie (January 20, 2009). "Developing: Sens. Kennedy And Byrd Leave Luncheon For Medical Reasons". All Headline News. Archived from the original on January 23, 2009.
- "Kennedy stricken at Obama luncheon". MSNBC. Associated Press. January 20, 2009. Archived from the original on September 11, 2014. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
- "Sen. Robert Byrd Hospitalized". The Washington Independent. May 18, 2009. Archived from the original on December 21, 2009.
- "Sen. Byrd develops staph infection". Herald-Dispatch. June 1, 2009. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
- "Sen. Byrd released from hospital". Politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com. June 30, 2009. Archived from the original on August 5, 2009. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- "Senator Robert C. Byrd 'Seriously Ill' | The State Column"[dead link], "The State Column", June 28, 2010.
- Staff. "The Associated Press: Longtime Sen. Byrd in hospital, seriously ill". Archived from the original on June 30, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- "Sen. Byrd, 92, hospitalized, condition called 'seriously ill'". MSNBC. msnbc.com news services. June 27, 2010. Archived from the original on June 14, 2015. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
- Holley, Joe (June 2010). "West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd dead at 92". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 26, 2011. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
- "Transcript: Remarks by Vice President Biden on the Passing of Senator Robert C. Byrd". June 28, 2010. Archived from the original on July 2, 2010.
- "Statement of the President on the Passing of Senator Byrd". June 28, 2010. Archived from the original on June 30, 2010.
- "West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd dead at 92". KTAR.com. June 28, 2010. Archived from the original on July 3, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- "Testimonials to Sen. Robert C. Byrd". Associated Press. June 28, 2010. Archived from the original on July 2, 2010.
- "Byrd, wife to be reburied in W.Va". United Press International. July 6, 2010. Archived from the original on July 11, 2010. Retrieved July 6, 2010.
- "Wsaz.com". Wsaz.com. Archived from the original on June 29, 2010. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
- Morman, Robert (2010). Adieus to Achievers. Author House. p. 166. ISBN 9781456727550.
- "Obama eulogizes Sen. Robert Byrd under West Virginia skies". Christian Science Monitor. July 2, 2010. ISSN 0882-7729. Archived from the original on January 21, 2018. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
- Byrd's family will receive remainder of his salary Archived October 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Politico.com; accessed July 23, 2017.
- "Factbox-Reaction to death of U.S. Senator Byrd". Reuters. June 28, 2010. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
- "Hillary Clinton Remembers 'Friend and Mentor' Robert Byrd". Observer.com. June 28, 2010. Archived from the original on June 11, 2019. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
- on YouTube, Time frame: 04:05, verified May 9, 2007
- Sean Loughlin and Robert Yoon, CNN Washington Bureau (February 21, 2003). "'Gods and Generals'—and Congress". CNN. Archived from the original on April 24, 2009. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- "Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies". Byrd Center. Byrd Center. Archived from the original on June 7, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- "Association of Centers for the Study of Congress". Congress Centers. Association of Centers for the Study of Congress. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
- Corbin, David A. The Last Great Senator: Robert C. Byrd's Encounters with Eleven U.S. Presidents (Dulles: Potomac, 2012) 365 pp.
- Carlson, Peter. "Robert Byrd Consorts With a KKK Grand Dragon," American History (2011) 46#3 pp 18–19.
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- "Robert C. Byrd Congressional Papers Collection". Archived from the original on March 13, 2015. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- "Profile at SourceWatch". Archived from the original on August 14, 2008. Retrieved February 15, 2007.
- FBI Records: The Vault – U.S. Senator Robert Byrd at fbi.gov
- on YouTube
- Sen. Byrd Remembered for "Principle and Honor" – video by Democracy Now!
- "Senate web site". Archived from the original on August 22, 2008.
- Memorial Addresses and Other Tributes, Held in the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States Together With Memorial Services in Honor of Robert C. Byrd, Late a Senator from West Virginia, One Hundred Eleventh Congress, Second Session
- If This Is the Senate's Soul ... Michael Grunwald, The Washington Post, June 18, 2006
- A Senator's Shame Eric Pianin, The Washington Post, June 19, 2005
- The United States Senate designates Robert Byrd as President Pro Tempore Emeritus of the United States Senate The Library of Congress THOMAS, January 15, 2003