U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., who serves as the senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, released the following statement upon learning of the retirement announcement of Congressman David Obey, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee:
"I am disheartened to learn that my dear friend and fellow appropriator, Dave Obey, will not stand for re-election in November.
David Obey is the consummate legislator, one who not only understands the legislative process, but appreciates it and has mastered it as well. He is a rare breed in an institution where sound bite politics takes precedence over procedure, and who knew and never let people forget that the power of the purse lies with the Congress. His love and dedication to this institution is only exceeded by his love and commitment to his dear wife Joan.
As Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, he has helped to steer our fiscal ship of state through rough and rocky waters, while always, always, looking out for those in need of a safety net to get by. He has tangled with Presidents, with Senators, yes, even this Senator, with his House colleagues, and Administration officials, always trying to do what was right for America with a conviction rarely seen.
And he was not the least bit shy about speaking out against what he believed were ill-advised cuts in health, education, and human services programs, or about opposing an extremely misguided foray into Iraq.
As I said in a 1999 debate on an Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill, "David Obey is one whom we will never find asleep at the switch. He is always there. He is always alert, combative enough, to be sure, and loyal to his own body, the House of Representatives, and the Democrats whom he represented in the conference. His work is always effective and very capable.' Those words ring true to this day.
Dave Obey will be enormously missed in the Congress and by this Senator."