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November 29, 2007
R.I.P. Henry Hyde
Former Representative Henry Hyde, a conservative voice in the House of Representatives for 32 years before retiring in 2006, died early this morning:
Henry J. Hyde -- known for his courtly manners, oratorical skills and historical knowledge during 32 years as the conservative voice of the western suburbs in Congress -- died today, according to the office of House Republican Leader John Boehner. He was 83. As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Hyde presided over the impeachment of President Clinton in 1998. He is best known for the anti-abortion amendment that bears his name - a stricture against spending federal funds on abortions.
While often seen as a throwback to a more genteel era in Washington, Mr. Hyde was a key figure in one of the capital's most divisive episodes, leading the House Republicans in their successful impeachment of President Bill Clinton. Mr. Hyde became a hero of the anti-abortion lobby through his sponsorship of what came to be known as the Hyde Amendment, which first passed in October 1976 and has essentially cut off federal funding for abortions ever since.
A calm and reasoned voice on most issues, Hyde was a staunch conservative who allied himself with Newt Gingrich and other back bench Republicans in the early 80's to block some of the more outrageous legislative proposals by Democrats. His unfailing good cheer and politeness will be recalled by staffers on both sides of the aisle - a true testament to a true gentleman.