38th President Dwight D. Eisenhower was born on October 14, 1890.
President Eisenhower entered office in 1953, the same year that Robert C. Byrd began his first term in the U.S House of Representatives. Eisenhower was present to welcome the freshmen class of Congressmen and presented Byrd with a signed photograph.
The relationship between Congressman Byrd and President Eisenhower focused mainly on Byrd’s efforts to bring more economic opportunities to West Virginia. This proved to be a struggle, however, as Eisenhower placed more emphasis on foreign trade and was apparently unaware of the poor economic conditions plaguing West Virginia. According to Byrd biographer David Corbin, Eisenhower “was under the impression that West Virginia coal mines were running ‘full blast.’
Byrd pushed for several pieces of legislation to boost West Virginia’s economy during the Eisenhower administration, including the Area Redevelopment Act and H.R Bill 1775, which called for the establishment of quota limitations on imports of foreign oil. Byrd also made an effort to work with the federal government to increase coal exports from the United States. All of these attempts were met with resistance from the Eisenhower administration.
Byrd struggled with passing depressed area legislation for the remainder of Eisenhower’s time as President. It was this difficult experience with the President that inspired Byrd to make his run for Senate in order to work more closely with future administrations.
By Malorie Matos