(KCPW News) Utah Senator Orrin Hatch praised the legacy of Senator Robert Byrd today after learning of the 92-year-old’s death. Byrd joined the U.S. Senate in 1959, 18 years before Hatch did in 1977. Hatch offered his condolences during the initial confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.
“Senator Byrd was a towering presence in the Senate for decades, and his love for the Constitution and for this legislative body was well known,” said Hatch. “He stood up for it all the time, and of course I had nothing but great respect for him.
But that doesn’t mean Hatch, a conservative Republican, always got along politically with the West Virginia Democrat.
“I remember in the early years, when I led the fight against labor law reform, he wasn’t very happy with me, and frankly, I wasn’t very happy with him, either, but in the end, I gained such tremendous respect for him, and love, even though we differed on so many issues,” Hatch said.
In a statement, Senator Bob Bennett praised Byrd’s kindness and devotion to the Senate, and said it wouldn’t be the same without him.