Robert Byrd resigned today as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, acquiescing to Democratic leaders who reportedly wanted him out of the job, the Hill reports. Byrd, 90, has been hospitalized three times in the past year, and said he was willing to leave the committee in younger hands—namely, those of 84-year-old Hawaiian Daniel Inouye.
“A new day has dawned in Washington, and that is a good thing,” Byrd said in a statement. “For my part, I believe that it is time for a new day at the top of the Senate Appropriations Committee. I will step away from the chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee effective Jan. 6, 2009.”