Byrd Resigns Appropriations Committee Chairmanship

The dean of the U.S. Senate, 92-year-old Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., is resigning his post as chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, Politico and other Caiptol Hill publications are reporting.

“To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven,” said Byrd, quoting Ecclesiastes, according to Politico.

The move will have ripple effects on other Senate committees. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, is expected to take Byrd’s gavel at Appropriations, surrendering the top post at the Commerce Committee, which handles telecommunications issues.

Next in line in seniority among Commerce Committee Democrats is Jay Rockefeller IV of West Virginia. He is now chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, but the Associated Press, citing unnamed sources, said Rockefeller would give that up to move to the Commerce chair.

If Rockefeller passes up the Commerce post, next in line on the panel is John Kerry, D-Mass.

Byrd was elected to his ninth Senate term in 2006.