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Byrd Show

A beaming Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, was wheeled into the hearing room just before the start of a committee markup. “Hello, folks!” he bellowed to the packed room.

A few people nearby clapped but quickly stopped, seemingly unsure if such a gesture was appropriate. Byrd cleared up the confusion, yelling, in his standard triplet style, “Applause, applause, applause!” The crowd responded. 

As it died down, Byrd spotted Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and hollered, “Hello, Herb!” Kohl asked him how he was and Byrd said, “Just fine. Just fine, Herb.”

He then saw Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and, in a booming voice that could be easily heard through the cavernous room, welcomed her with, “Hello there, darling Dianne” and began to sing “Diaaaanne, oooh Dianne!”

Spying Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.), he observed, “You’ve got a growth on your face, Pete.” Domenici told him it had been there “a long time,” and Byrd told him, “It’s too long,” before clarifying that he meant, “It’s been there too long.”

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) then walked into the room. “Tom Harkin has arrived!” Byrd announced, calling the meeting to order.

Funding for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education passed by a vote of 26-3.

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