Sen. John W. Warner (R.-Va.) inaugurated his legislative career yesterday by joining forces with the state's senior senator, Independent Harry F. Byrd Jr., to sponsor a resolution that criticizes American foreign policy regarding China and Taiwan.
The sense-of-the-Congress resolution, however, did little more than provoke the ire of SenateMajority Leader Robert C. Byrd (D.-W.Va.), who blocked consideration of the measure and scolded his namesake, saying "I am sorry I was not informed in advance" of the action.
Harry Byrd batted.500 for the opening-day session, however, as he was permitted to attend and participate in the closed Democratic caucus. A resolution approved by the Democratic midterm conference last month urged the caucus to limit its membership to "Democrats only," an action that could strip Byrd of his seniority and committee preferences.
Byrd said the matter didn't come up yesterday. "I didn't expect it to," he said. "It's not an issue."
Later, at a campaign-style reception in the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing room, Warner interrupted his song-leading and cheek-kissing to announce that "as my first legislative act in this great body, I am cosponsoring..."
At that point, he helped boost his white-haired colleague, Harry Byrd, onto a table, saying "tell them about the resolution."
Byrd explained that his proposal urges the president to consult with the Senate "before abrogation of any mutual defense treaty."
As Warner took his seat on the Senate floor, replacing retired Sen. William L. Scott (R-Va.), two Maryland Democrats, Michael D. Barnes and Beverly Byron, were sworn in along with the other members of the House on the other side of the Capitol Rotunda.
Barnes, Montgomery County's first Democratic congressman in 20 years, took the oath while standing near the rear of the House chamber. At his side was his daughter, Sarah Dillon, 3, who also raised her hand for the oath. Barnes' wife, Claudia, sat with his parents and her mother in the spectators' gallery.
The first person to shake Barnes' hand after the brief ceremony was third-term Rep. Herbert E. Harris II (D-Va.).
Closer to the speaker's rostrum, Maryland's other new House member, Democratic Rep. Beverly Byron of Frederick took the oath, succeeding her late husband, Goodloe Byron, as the representative from the 6th District.
In front of her was Rep. Joseph Fisher (D-Va.) of Arlington, beginning his third term. Directly across the aisle from Byron was Rep. Gladys Noon Spellman (D-Md.), who also began her third term as the representative from the 5th District in Prince George's County.
Along with Reps. Barbara Mikulski, a Democrat from Baltimore, and Marjorie S. Holt, a Republican from Severna Park, the four women make up one half of Maryland's delegation to the House, the largest female representation from one state, numerically and proportionately, in the histoy of the House.
While most of the new members held receptions yesterday, Barnes has invited 3,600 constitutents to a party on Wednesday.
About 2,000 people were invited to a reception for Byron, and by mid-afternoon, most of them had jammed into the hearing room of the House subcommittee on government operations.
"This is a tremendous personal tribute to Beverly... and to Goodloe," said Sen. Charles McC. Mathias (R-Md.), as he squirmed through the room. For Mathias, the Byron reception was one of nine on his list, seven for new senators, including the bash for Warner.
Down the hall in the Rayburn Building, Holt observed the opening of her fourth term by complaining about a rule change by a Democratic majority "which will undo everything we have tried to do to cut the budget."
Holt was referring to a rule adopted yesterday that would prohibit proposing across-the-board budget cuts on the House floor, as Holt successfully did in the 95th Congress.
Holt's friend and neighbor, Rep. Robert E. Bauman (R-Md.), began the new Congress as he ended the last, by railing on the floor about the "big spending" Democrats.