[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/21/art.byrd0721.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Robert Byrd returned to the Senate for a vote Tuesday."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - West Virginia Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd ended a two-month absence from the Senate Tuesday when he returned for a vote on the F-22 jet fighter program.
In a statement issued by his office Tuesday, Byrd said it was "wonderful to be back in the august body where I have served for more than 50 years, and to see all my colleagues who have been so supportive of me during my recent hospitalization."
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, who as the Democratic whip is in charge of counting the party's votes in the chamber, told reporters he was glad to see his colleague back. "All's right in the world: Robert C. Byrd is on the floor of the Senate," Durbin says he told Byrd when the two men saw each other today. He says the West Virginia senator smiled in response.
Byrd has been away from the Senate since mid-May, when he was hospitalized for a minor infection, then contracted a staph infection while he was in the hospital.
His office said the senator is expected to ease back into his duties, and to vote on Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination, health care reform, and climate change legislation.
–CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett contributed to this report.