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Not On C-SPAN: In Senate Chamber, Robert Byrd Lies In Repose

The body of Sen. Robert Byrd in the Senate chamber. Stephen Crowley/Pool hide caption

toggle caption Stephen Crowley/Pool

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), the longest-serving congressman in American history, lies in repose in the U.S. Senate chamber today.

NPR's Andrea Seabrook, reporting from the Capitol, sets the scene:

Sen. Byrd's desk is draped in black velvet, a bowl of white roses on top. His casket lies before the dais, draped in the American flag. Members of Congress and staff stream through the Senate chamber, many stopping for a moment of silence in front of the casket, and then paying respects to Byrd's family standing by.

As we reported on Tuesday, after a prayer from the Senate chaplain, Dr. Barry Black, Byrd's casket will be removed from the chamber, to be taken by hearse to Andrews Air Force Base, to be flown to West Virginia.

In Charleston, West Virginia, there will be a public procession from the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse to the West Virginia State Capitol.  There, in the Capitol Rotunda, West Virginians will be able to pay their respects from 9:00 p.m. until 9:00 a.m. ET.

After a public service in Charleston, there will be a private funeral service at the Memorial Baptist Church in Arlington, Virginia.

FisbowlDC reports there is a small tempest brewing on Capitol Hill. The Executive Committee of the Radio-Television Correspondents Association — of which Seabrook is a member — wrote to Sen. Charles Schmuer (D-NY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, asking for a video feed of the Senate chamber.

The journalists on the committee said "it was Sen. Byrd himself who opened the Senate to television coverage in 1986," and "it would be remarkable if the historic record has no video documentation of the senator's final time in the Senate."

Yesterday, Schumer denied their request, saying "the family of Senator Byrd has requested no such coverage be allowed."

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