The Congress: Packing Byrd's Nest

Several weeks ago. White House legislative aides began sounding out Senators about a hush-hush plan to pack Harry F. Byrd's Senate Finance Committee. The notion was to increase the committee's membership by adding two Democratic liberals, thereby enhancing the prospects for both the Administration's tax revision and medicare plans.

The first probings proved promising, so Democratic Majority Leader Mike Mansfield quietly spread the word that he would seek a favorable vote in the Democratic steering committee, which makes committee assignments. At this point, Byrd, who steadfastly opposes medicare and the Kennedy tax program, let conservative Senators know that...

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