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Sen. Robert Byrd

Former Senator for West Virginia

Byrd was a senator from West Virginia and was a Democrat. He served from 1959 to 2010.

He was previously the representative for West Virginia’s 6th congressional district as a Democrat from 1953 to 1958.

Photo of Sen. Robert Byrd [D-WV, 1959-2010]


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 2010 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 24, 2005 to Dec 22, 2010. See full analysis methodology.

Enacted Legislation

Byrd was the primary sponsor of 37 bills that were enacted. The most recent include:

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Does 37 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:

Law (17%) Energy (15%) Government Operations and Politics (13%) Commerce (12%) Armed Forces and National Security (12%) Labor and Employment (12%) Finance and Financial Sector (10%) Transportation and Public Works (10%)

Recently Introduced Bills

Byrd recently introduced the following legislation:

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Most legislation has no activity after being introduced.

Voting Record

Key Votes

Byrd voted Nay

Byrd voted Nay

Byrd voted Nay

Byrd voted Nay

Byrd voted Yea

Missed Votes

From Jan 1959 to Jun 2010, Byrd missed 679 of 19,246 roll call votes, which is 3.5%. This is worse than the median of 2.0% among the lifetime records of senators serving in Jun 2010. 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: