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Congress: Byrd's milestone

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) today becomes the longest-serving member of Congress -- ever. There will be a resolution recognizing that today. "Setting records is old news to the white-maned Democratic lawmaker. Since June 12, 2006, Byrd has been the longest-serving senator and later that year he was elected to an unprecedented ninth term. His colleagues have elected him to more leadership positions than any senator in history. He has cast more than 18,000 votes and, despite fragile health that has kept him from the Senate floor during much of this year, has a nearly 98 percent attendance record over the course of his career. Which, by Byrd's count, has spanned 20,774 days. On Tuesday, Byrd's service tied the record set by Carl Hayden, D-Ariz., who served in the House, then the Senate, from 1912 to 1969."

"Republicans senators plan to grill Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday about his pledge not to allow the release of dangerous detainees into the United States," The Hill writes. "Holder's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee marks the first time senators have had a chance to question Holder publicly since the Department of Justice announced its decision to try five terrorist suspects, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks, in U.S. courts."

Another Hill piece: "Clear differences have emerged among the Democratic chairmen of the six Senate committees with jurisdiction over climate change legislation. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Commerce Committee, who both represent states with significant coal industries, would like to proceed cautiously." Rockefeller "said climate legislation should not reach the floor before July of next year, putting the controversial bill on the schedule only months before Election Day." Interest-group proponents of the legislation told First Read yesterday they had been thinking legislation would be taken up in early spring. But clearly it's the next big fight after health care and chalk it up to another 2010 issue on top of bailouts, the stimulus, health care, and Afghanistan.

"A government watchdog group accused Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) of violating House rules, asserting Tuesday that the lawmaker improperly used official resources to organize a recent 'tea party' event at the Capitol to oppose health care legislation," Roll Call writes.

"Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) confirmed Senate Democratic leaders' fears that he will insist that the massive health care reform bill be read aloud on the Senate floor."


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: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pushing for the passage of health care legislation, but is a health bill by year's end 'wishful thinking'?