Washington, DC—Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement today following the death of West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd:
“Robert Byrd’s was one of the greatest minds the world has ever seen. From his graduation as valedictorian of his high school class at the age of 16 to his chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee until the age of 91, he mastered everything he touched with great thoughtfulness and skill. Throughout more than half a century of service in this body, and six more in the House, Senator Byrd never stopped fighting for the people of West Virginia and for Democratic principles. My thoughts, and those of the entire United States Senate, are with the Byrd family.
“Robert Byrd was a Member of this nation’s Congress for more than a quarter of the time it has existed, and longer than a quarter of today’s sitting Senators and the President of the United States have been alive. The nine times the people of his state sent him to the Senate and the more than 18,500 votes he cast in its chamber will never be matched. His political career spanned a dozen presidencies and countless American advances and achievements. And throughout one of the longest political careers in history, no one ever defeated Robert Byrd in a single election.
“The people of West Virginia have lost a dedicated public servant, and America has lost a great defender of its most precious traditions. He was the foremost guardian of the Senate’s complex rules, procedures and customs, and as leader of both the majority and the minority caucuses in the Senate he knew better than most that legislation is the art of compromise.
“By virtue of his endurance, Robert Byrd knew and worked with many of the greats of the United States Senate. Because of his enduring virtue, he will be remembered as one of them.
Senator Byrd dedicated every single day of his Senate service to strengthening the institution, state and republic that he loved so dearly. There will never be another like him.”