Byrd expresses disappointment over Obey's departure

Long time appropriator Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) expressed sadness tonight over Rep. David Obey's decision not to run for re-election. 

"I am disheartened to learn that my dear friend and fellow appropriator, Dave Obey, will not stand for re-election in November," Byrd said tonight in a release. 

Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, told reporters earlier Wednesday that he's 'bone tired' and is ready to leave Washington. 

"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," Byrd said. 

Obey was first elected to Congress in a 1969 special election in Wisconsin and has served on the Appropriations panel since early in his first term -- when he was only 30. He first became chairman in 1994 after the death of William Natcher of Kentucky became the youngest lawmaker to take the helm after beating out a more senior Member for the job. 

"He has tangled with presidents, with Senators, yes, even this Senator, with his House colleagues, and administration officials, always trying to what was right for America with a conviction rarely seen," Byrd said. 

"Dave Obey will be enormously missed in the Congress and by this Senator."