Parliamentarian Floyd Riddick, Senator Howard Baker, and Senator Robert Byrd
Related Content: Senate Leaders and the Panama Canal Treaties
credit: U.S. Senate Historical Office
From 1977 to 1985 Democratic senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia (right) and Republican senator Howard Baker of Tennesee (left) shared leadership duties. Byrd served as majority leader from 1977 to 1981, then Baker assumed the top post until 1985. During this time the two senators worked closely together on a number of high-profile issues, including the contentious and controversial debate over the Panama Canal treaties. Both leaders were skilled tacticians, with Byrd regarded as one of the foremost experts on Senate rules and procedure; nevertheless, the two men often relied upon the guidance of the Senate’s official parliamentarian, Floyd Riddick (center), seen here presenting copies of Riddick’s Senate Procedure.