Rockefeller: No Contact With Byrd

Posted June 25, 2009 at 7:23pm

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has not spoken in recent weeks with his home-state colleague, Sen. Robert Byrd (D), who has been in the hospital since last month with an infection.Asked Wednesday whether he had talked with Byrd, Rockefeller said, “Nobody has.—“I have not been in touch with Senator Byrd directly but I have sent him my well wishes,— Rockefeller later added in a statement.Rockefeller and Byrd have served together in the Senate for 25 years and have generally enjoyed a cordial relationship, aides say.The junior Senator’s staff “has had a few conversations with Sen. Byrd’s staff consistent with the information his office has put out publicly,— a Rockefeller aide said.Sources have said Senate Democratic leaders and Byrd’s own staff are largely in the dark about his true condition. Byrd’s office has declined to comment about where he is receiving medical treatment.Additionally, Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) office had no comment on when the leader last spoke to Byrd.The longest-serving Senator was admitted to the hospital May 15 for what was described as a mild infection. His office said he later developed a staph infection and is currently undergoing physical therapy.In his absence, Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) filled in for Byrd atop the Homeland Security subcommittee last week, when the subpanel marked up the department’s fiscal 2010 spending bill.A statement released by Byrd’s office Monday noted the ailing Senator “is resuming some of his official duties while recuperating, including signing several enrolled bills as President pro tempore of the Senate.—Byrd’s office could not be reached for comment.Emily Pierce contributed to this report.