U.S. longest-serving lawmaker "seriously ill"

08:48, June 28, 2010      

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Veteran U.S. senator Robert Byrd. (Xinhua/Reuters file photo)

Democratic Senator Robert Byrd, currently the longest-serving member of U.S. Congress, has been hospitalized in "seriously ill" condition, his spokesman said on Sunday.

The 92-year-old West Virginia Democrat "was admitted to the hospital late last week suffering from what was believed to be heat exhaustion and severe dehydration as a result of the extreme temperatures," Byrd's spokesman Jesse Jacobs said in a statement.

Byrd was initially expected to spend just a few days in the hospital, but "upon further examination by his doctors, other conditions have developed which has resulted in his condition being described as 'serious,'" said the statement.

Byrd was elected to the House of Representatives in 1952 and moved to the Senate in 1958. He has served in Congress through 12 presidents. He has been in frail health in recent years and was hospitalized three times in 2009.

Byrd's latest hospitalization could mean an unexpected blow to President Barack Obama's financial-regulatory legislation efforts, by reducing the chances of the Senate passing the compromising package that the two chambers agreed to last week. So far, Democrats still do not have full confidence saying they have garnered enough votes to push the bill through the Senate.

Source: Xinhua


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