WASHINGTON - November 7, 2008 - The 90-year-old West Virginia Democrat has become increasingly
frail in recent years, so the move didn't 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 agencies' budgets.
Byrd has used the post to send billions of federal dollars to
his state - for roads, universities, and economic development
Byrd has chaired the panel or been it's top minority party
member for 20 years. Before that, he was the Senate's Democratic
leader for 12 years.