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Byrd Back on the Job

Updated: 1:47 p.m.

Senate President Pro Tem Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) returned to the Capitol on Tuesday to cast a vote on the Defense authorization bill after being sidelined by illness for nearly two months.

Byrd’s vote came in opposition to President Barack Obama. The White House had threatened to veto any bill that contained funding for F-22 warplanes, and the Senate voted Tuesday to stand with Obama, 58-40, by stripping money for the planes from the Defense Department authorization bill.

Byrd voted to continue funding for the planes, which have been described by Pentagon officials as too costly and impractical for the kind of wars the U.S. has been fighting in recent years.

The 91-year-old Byrd, who is third in line for the presidency and the longest-serving Senator, was hospitalized for about six weeks with multiple infections. He was released on June 30, but had not been back to the Senate for votes until Tuesday.

Byrd’s office has kept many of the details about his condition and treatment under wraps, including the name of hospital where he had been receiving care.