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June 20, 1980 - Image 8

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1980-06-20

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Page 8-Friday, June 20, 1980-The Michigan Daily

Byrd heads
off vote on
U.S. death
penalty

From UPI and AP
WASHINGTON - By pulling some fast parliamen-
tary maneuvers, Senate Democratic leader Robert
Byrd yesterday headed off - at least temporarily -
a Senate vote to reinstate the federal death penalty
for capital crimes.
The bill would restore the death penalty for
treason, espionage, and first-degree murder, in-
cluding assassination of the president, other high-
ranking federal officials and visiting dignitaries. It
would also cover kidnapping which results in the
death of any individual.
BYRD WAS pushed into a corner Wednesday by
Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), who appeared certain of
winning enough support to pass one of his longtime
projects: two test votes showed Helms would succeed
in bringing back the death penalty.
Byrd told Helms he personally supported the death
penalty but did not want itas a rider on a $2.1 billion

Justice Department authorization bill that is pending
before the Senate.
He promised to call up the death penalty proposal
as a separate bill in July or August if Helms would
withdraw his amendment. Helms refused the deal.
AFTER LOSING two attempts to sidetrack the
death penalty amendment, Byrd bought himself time
by adjourning the Senate and pushing back the final
vote on the Helms amendment until yesterday.
By yesterday morning, the chamber leader, known
for his parliamentary expertise, had devised a com-
plex plan to hamstring Helms and his GOP suppor-
ters.
Amid howls of protest from Republican leader
Howard Baker, Byrd offered two amendments to the
Justice Department authorization bill. Both
measures already had passed the House and the GOP
had vowed to filibuster each one on the Senate floor.
Each had to be acted on before the Helms death
penalty amendment could come to a vote.

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