Oldest U.S. Senator Steps Down as Panel Chair

WASHINGTON (AP) — The longest-serving U.S. senator in history, Robert Byrd, is stepping down from his cherished post as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The 90-year-old Democrat, third in line of succession to the U.S. presidency, has been increasingly frail in recent years, so the move did not come as a surprise. Democratic leaders had sent signals that they hoped Byrd would step aside to make room for more active leadership on the panel, which is among the most important in Congress for its control over federal agency budgets.

Byrd has used the post to send billions of federal dollars to his home state of West Virginia — for roads, universities, and economic development projects.

Byrd has chaired the panel or been its top minority party

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  1. March 9th, 2012
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