Byrd Turns to the More Youthful Inouye For Help
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) remains hospitalized but has begun physical therapy with the hope of being released soon, his office announced today. And he has turned to a younger senator to execute his duties while he's away from Capitol Hill.
"[Sen. Byrd's] spirits are extremely high and he continues to appreciate the well wishes from all, especially the people of West Virginia," read a statement released by his office. "Even if released from the hospital, he is not expected to be back in his office this week."
Though the ailing senator, who is 91, gave up his chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee last year, he remains chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security. In the statement released by his office today, Byrd said he has asked Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) -- who, at 84, is a mere seven years younger than Byrd -- to oversee his subcommittee's scheduled consideration this week of the homeland security spending bill.
"I again express my deepest appreciation to the chairman of the committee and my dear friend, Senator Inouye, for agreeing to take the helm of the subcommittee in my absence," Byrd said.
Today marks one month since Byrd, the oldest current senator and the longest-serving senator in U.S. history, was hospitalized with a bacterial infection. His spokesman, Jesse Jacobs, initially suggested the senator would be released within a matter of days but Byrd then developed a staph infection, which kept him hospitalized, according to Jacobs.
At the request of his family, Byrd's office has not disclosed which hospital is treating the senator.
Mary Ann Akers
June 15, 2009; 5:08 PM ET
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