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Sen. Harry Byrd Jr.

Former Senator for Virginia

Byrd was a senator from Virginia and was most recently an Independent (1971-1982) and previously a Democrat (1965-1970). He served from 1965 to 1982.

Photo of Sen. Harry Byrd [I-VA, 1965-1982]


Ideology–Leadership Chart

Byrd is shown as a purple triangle in our ideology-leadership chart below. Each dot was a member of the Senate in 1982 positioned according to our ideology score (left to right) and our leadership score (leaders are toward the top).

The chart is based on the bills Byrd sponsored and cosponsored from Jan 4, 1977 to Dec 23, 1982. See full analysis methodology.

Enacted Legislation

Byrd was the primary sponsor of 3 bills that were enacted:

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Does 3 not sound like a lot? Very few bills are ever enacted — most legislators sponsor only a handful that are signed into law. But there are other legislative activities that we don’t track that are also important, including offering amendments, committee work and oversight of the other branches, and constituent services.

We consider a bill enacted if one of the following is true: a) it is enacted itself, b) it has a companion bill in the other chamber (as identified by Congress) which was enacted, or c) if at least about half of its provisions were incorporated into bills that were enacted (as determined by an automated text analysis, applicable beginning with bills in the 110th Congress).

Bills Sponsored

Issue Areas

Byrd sponsored bills primarily in these issue areas:

Economics and Public Finance (35%) Taxation (23%) International Affairs (15%) Foreign Trade and International Finance (12%) Arts, Culture, Religion (8%) Energy (8%)

Recent Bills

Some of Byrd’s most recently sponsored bills include...

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Voting Record

Missed Votes

From Jan 1966 to Dec 1982, Byrd missed 368 of 8,080 roll call votes, which is 4.6%. This is better than the median of 7.2% among the lifetime records of senators serving in Dec 1982. The chart below reports missed votes over time.

We don’t track why legislators miss votes, but it’s often due to medical absenses and major life events.

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Primary Sources

The information on this page is originally sourced from a variety of materials, including: