28 Years Ago in TIME

Robert Byrd, 88, became the longest-serving U.S. Senator ever last week, passing Strom Thurmond's mark of 17,326 days. The West Virginian has wielded huge influence in Washington for decades

This year much of what [President] Carter gets from Congress will be largely due to Byrd, a night-school lawyer who is a first-rate legislative technician. His job is to act as the Senate's traffic cop, controlling the flow of legislation and debate. A master of the Senate's rules and precedents, Byrd hustles through an endless round of meetings with committee chairmen, powerful Senate barons and rebellious mavericks, trying to head off trouble...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!