Senate Democrats

Robert Byrd: Dean of the Senate

Senator Robert Byrd, Democrat of West Virgina, who is already the longest-serving senator in U.S. history, has now surpassed Carl Hayden as the longest-serving member of Congress in history, combining his terms in both the House and the Senate.

Byrd’s long list of accomplishments include:

  • More than 50 years of congressional service — six in the House and fifty-four in the Senate
  • Former Senate Majority and Minority Leader
  • 18,582 Senate roll call votes — more than any other senator in American history
  • President Pro Tempore Emeritus of the Senate
  • The ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee
  • Member of the Armed Services Committee

Since he entered the Senate, Byrd has been a fierce defender of the Constitution and the institution of the Senate. He has been known to carry a leather-bound copy of the Constitution in his breast pocket — waving it while speaking on the Senate floor of the wisdom of the nation’s founders.

In a statement marking what Byrd called a "longevity milestone," he told Politico, the "quality and dedication of service" has been most important to him. As the congressional ironman, Byrd pledges to continue to serve his home state with the same dedication he has for half a century. "[I] look forward to serving [West Virginians] for the next 56 years and 320 days."