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Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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April 10, 2008 11:03 AM

D.C. eyes Murray as Byrd ails

Posted by David Postman

There is a small flurry of stories out of D.C. looking at the future of Sen. Robert Byrd and what that could mean to his protege, Washington Sen. Patty Murray.

Politico says the stories “were floated” because of “agitation in the party’s ranks over whether the West Virginian would be able to manage an upcoming wartime spending bill.”

Senate Democrats keep muttering about their 90-year-old chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Sen. Robert C. Byrd, but no one wants to bell the cat.

Murray has more senior Democrats ahead of her in terms of who would become chairman if Byrd stepped aside, or got shoved aside. Politico says she’s “far enough down the line that she isn’t a threatening figure” to Byrd.

“Sen. Byrd has meant so much to the Senate,” she said. “We all owe him respect for that and allow him to make his decisions.”

In comments to CQ Politics, Murray made it clear she was not interested in pushing Byrd to do anything.
“We’re all doing our job so that he can do his,” Murray said. “The future role of Sen. Byrd will depend on Sen. Byrd.”

But if someone has to step in to manage that war spending bill, it likely will be Murray. CQ Politics says:

Murray, a former chairwoman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, came to the forefront last year when she was selected to be floor manager of the Homeland Security appropriations bill, which was drafted by the subcommittee Byrd chairs. The bill was later wrapped into an omnibus (PL 110-161). She also helped manage the previous war supplemental (PL 110-28).

At the time, senior Democrats said Murray had been selected for the showcase role because of her standing as a party leader, her seniority on appropriations and her close ties to Byrd.

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Posted by GagMe

11:28 AM, Apr 10, 2008

"“Sen. Byrd has meant so much to the Senate,” she said. “We all owe him respect for that and allow him to make his decisions.”"

Oh gag me with a KKK hood! The grand kleagle has been a disgrace! Respect is the LAST thing the old bigot deserves.

Go to YOUTUBE and search for Senator Byrd sleeping and you will see dinghy Harry Reid giving a speech on the Senate floor while the grand kleagle is snoozing. It was long past time for that old bigot to be gone 10 years ago.

Posted by Pale Rider

3:13 PM, Apr 10, 2008

They used to wake up Strom Thurmond so he could vote.

Posted by Old Glory

3:48 PM, Apr 10, 2008

"They used to wake up Strom Thurmond so he could vote."

And that is an excuse fro another old bigot? Oh, I see. He's the Democrat's old bigot, so its OK.

Posted by Bill

7:05 PM, Apr 10, 2008

It should come as no surprise that Murray is effusive in her praise for the Senate's resident Klansman.

Posted by fritz

8:44 PM, Apr 10, 2008

And to borrow a quote from A Fish Called Wanda, to call Murray stupid would be an insult to stupid people.

Posted by Mikey

7:16 AM, Apr 11, 2008

Oh, yeah, **THAT** is a bright future! A democrat controlled Congress, a democrat in the White House, and Patty Murray in charge of something.

Posted by upchuck

12:57 PM, Apr 11, 2008

it strikes me as ironic that byrd and murray are so highly regarded by their liberal fans for their strong rhetorical opposition to bush and his war, yet they are the ones who have been writing the checks all along...

Posted by KS

9:45 PM, Apr 13, 2008

I'll like to see no earmarks made law. That would cut out alot of the pork that Senators bring home. Of course that would devastate Patty Murray. I am indifferent about her getting Byrd's slot.

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