Sen. Byrd Casts Vote For ‘My Friend’ Ted Kennedy
In the Senate vote on health care Thursday, long-serving Democrat, Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., cast his "aye" vote "for my friend Ted Kennedy," the late senator from Massachusetts, according to The New York Times (Pear, 12/24).
In a separate story, the Times reports that Byrd, 92, arrived by wheelchair for a procedural vote yesterday, as well as for three other earlier votes this week. Senate Democrats need every one of their 60 votes to prevail in the donnybrook over a health care overhaul, and this week faced a series of cloture votes - required to end debate on the bill - to move the legislation ahead. That placed no small burden on the frail nonagenarian, who spent six weeks in the hospital last spring with a staph infection, and who did not deliver his customary Christmas address on the Senate floor this year (Leibovich, 12/23).
An Associated Press/(Danbury, Conn., NewsTimes report notes that "Vicki Kennedy, the widow of the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, who made health reform his life's work, watched the vote from the gallery. ... [Majority Leader Harry] Reid [D-Nev.] said the vote 'brings us one step closer to making Ted Kennedy's dream a reality.'" Several lawmakers referenced Kennedy during the vote. (Werner, 12/24).