Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Byrd Puts Career on Line to Fight Quick Fixes

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Byrd Puts Career on Line to Fight Quick Fixes

Article excerpt

Sen.Robert C.Byrd (D-W.Va.) of Sophia, West Virginia, met with NLC Executive Director Don Borut and a group of other leaders late on Thursday evening in the offices of his Senate Appropriations Committee in the Capitol. It had been a long day. The Senator had successfully steered through the Senate an emergency supplemental assistance plan (See related story) to help not just the cities of Los Angeles and Chicago, but also to add urgent funds for summer youth employment, job training, and head start funds for all cities across the nation.

He had completed earlier that day a conference with the House and passage in the Senate of the conference report making over $7 billion in rescissions or cuts from current programs, but successfully rejected proposals by the House to cut already appropriated funds for cities and towns for the HOME state and local housing block grant program and the federally mandated municipal wastewater construction grants program.

Now he leaned across the conference table, a man with a streak of history and ornery courage that, along with his white mane, distinguish him from his 99 colleagues. He had invited the group to talk about what he believes could be the most important vote he will ever face in his 34 years in the U.S. Senate: a vote against a Constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget.

On this issue, the Senator said he would be willing to sacrifice his career.

And that is a career. Since his service in the war, Byrd has served in public office continuously since 1946--in his state House, state Senate, the House of Representatives, and, since 1959, in the Senate. …

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