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Replacing Byrd

July 8, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

UPDATE: Good news for all of you waiting for Congress to pass the unemployment insurance extension — the AP is reporting that West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw has issued the ruling that Gov. Manchin requested on whether he could hold a special election for Sen. Byrd’s seat on the 2010 ballot. Manchin had said he would wait on the ruling before appointing an interim senator to fill the seat. As I reported below, the ruling wasn’t expected until some time next week.

Now that the ruling is in, it’s possible that Manchin will appoint a replacement before the end of the week so they they can be sworn in to the Senate on Monday. The interim senator is expected to give Senate Democrats the 60th vote they need to overcome a Republican filibuster of the unemployment insurance extension and move it forward towards becoming law.

Original post below…

As just about everything congressional Democrats are trying to do in these last few months of the 111th Congress depends on having a Democrat in the seat of the late Sen. Robert Byrd [D, WV], all eyes are on West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin (D), who, under WV law, is responsible for appointing a replacement. There has been some confusion recently over how exactly the seat would be filled. The big question — will the new senator serve until Byrd’s term was scheduled to end (2012), or would West Virginia hold a special election this November and appoint an interim replacement for Byrd who would serve only until the end of this session?

West Virginia law is antiquated and ambiguous on the matter, and Gov. Manchin has said that he plans to hold off on any actions, including appointing a replacement for Byrd, until the WV attorney general, Darrell McGraw, renders a legal opinion on the matter. Manchin has asked McGraw to render an opinion “as quickly as possible,” and McGraw is expected to do so some time next week. But it’s likely that the wait will delay the seating of an interim Byrd replacement for up to a week or more.

To be clear, no matter what AG McGraw’s findings are on the matter, an interim replacement for Byrd will be appointed in the meantime. That is clearly required by the state’s laws.

What this likely means for action in Congress is that Senate Democrats will not be ready to vote on final passage of at least two major bills — financial reform and an extension of unemployment insurance benefits — right when they reconvene on Monday the 12th. However, both bills are expected to pass and be signed into law without any more problems once the interim senator is seated. And in the cease of the unemployment bill, benefits will be paid back retroactively for people who have been cut off since Congress let the extended filing deadline expire on June 2.

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Displaying 1-30 of 37 total comments.

  • mikeqhawaii 07/08/2010 8:26am

    finally some relief in sight. being from virginia and having relatives in west virginia, i never thought i’d see the day that their politics would effect my life. now, collectively, the entire unemployed community waits on decisions from this small coal mining state – a place some americans have never heard of. how ironic. i guess every member of the union does matter and has something to contribute. cool.

  • firestorm145 07/08/2010 9:15am

    People cannot afford to wait for this . The people need help now! not a week or 2 down the road. People are losing everything

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/10/2010 6:24am

    Republicans filibustered UI Ext bill! They’re asking for UI Ext be paid, while at the same time they’re fighting to give their Special Interest groups special tax stimulus. Rep are trying to look like they care about the deficit, but for 10 yrs (Bush Admin) they never spoke of concerns for the huge deficit they were digging us into as they approved large spending for Special Interest. The Rep debate on these UI Ext bills are like “broken record”. They want USA to use the stimulus money that is already committed to the agreed upon projects, programs, etc. Republicans want USA to “rob Peter to pay Paul”, so they can try to prolong the problem past November election. This is how they have operated for YEARS, and we’re in worse shape now because of their IRRESPONSIBLENESS. People should not be in Leadership positions if they cant make decision for the problems at hand.
    Dont take my word for it. Please read links Donny Shaw and others have provided with accurate research and reporting.

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/11/2010 8:15am

    Hang in there. Write him, and your Representatives. Mostly, remember to get everyone you know and influence to vote in November against all the Senators who listened to FreedomWorks(Tea Party Movement) Advocates and Big Special Interest groups, and did not hear the cries of the people of the USA.

    It is the FreedomWorks influence through the Tea Party movement who has put the pressure on these politicians. FreedomWorks is the front for Big Corporation and Extremely Wealthy. The truth of FreedomWorks (Tea Party) and AmericansforProsperity are that these non-profit organizations are disguised as organizations to protect Americans, but they are really only there for the purpose of helping the BIG WEALTHY corporations, industries, individuals, etc.
    Check it out:

  • Chris51 07/08/2010 9:31am

    Read and sign this petition on today if you agree.

    Petition Title: Tell your Senators to vote for an emergency extension of UI Benefits.

  • Chris51 07/08/2010 9:49am

    Here are some other great stories written with accurate reporting of the unemployment crisis millions of Americans face today.
    Also, these writers expose the ugly truth of these Senators lack of integrity to do what is right for USA today and future.

    The unemployment emergency

    Senate struggles with unemployment benefits

    Calls to Suicide Hotlines Skyrocket Along with Unemployment

  • Comm_reply
    mikeqhawaii 07/08/2010 11:54am

    that “calls to suicide hotlines” article left me dumbfounded.

    as senator brown said, pretty much stating the opinion of everyone voting “no” on the unemployment extension, “while i empathize with these people we have to get our spending under control”. i guess it’s easy for people getting (on average) 174,000 annually and health benefits/pension for life to make such statements. i’ll believe it when the legislature takes an across the board pay cut to help get spending under control.

    the reality is we don’t need empathy. we need the extension to be approved. no excuses. rest in peace wayne zickefoose and family. i hope god finds a way to lift up your soul and bring you the peace you didn’t find in this life.

  • JoanneS37 07/08/2010 11:13am

    To all of you REPUBLICAN PIGS…
    I’ve been getting unemployment benifits for 7 months,
    after working for the same company for 18 years, my
    company shut down. Now it’s all gone!
    Because of you REPULICAN BASTARDS, my unemployment
    benifits are gone!
    Because of you REPULICAN BASTARDS, my food is gone!
    Because of you REPULICAN BASTARDS, my house is gone!
    Because of you REPULICAN BASTARDS, my little one and I did
    NOT have a 4th of july holiday.
    While you REPULICAN BASTARDS enjoy yourselfs destroying
    this country, you have screwed up my son’s life and mine!
    Does not matter how much BS you speak- I will NEVER
    FORGET, I will NEVER FORGIVE the damage you have done.
    I will return the favor.


  • buddyg1 07/08/2010 11:22am

    Nor will I forget. No one hears our cries. My benefits extinguished after 26 weeks. All money gone. I have applied for every job imaginable. The responses are deafeningly silent on all levels. Simply unbelievable!

  • Ktula7 07/08/2010 11:59am

    What else can happen to us before we lose every last bit of wit we have. I certainly will not forget the ones that have voted no on this bill for the past month. Write down their names people, and NEVER forget! Not just in November, but follow them throughout their political careers. And make sure you make them remember you!!

  • sruthj217 07/08/2010 12:08pm

    1.3 million laid off Americans go more or less indefinitely without groceries and face foreclosure while a West Virginia governor investigates his career choices.
    Meanwhile the Senate goes on vacation, a paid one with tax dollars.

    This just goes to prove how careless and out of touch our government is with the people who elected them.

  • cgvetintx 07/08/2010 12:32pm

    I got an even better idea. How’s’about the a-hole Republicans not filibuster it and pass it tomorrow when they get back in session. That would steal the Democrats’ thunder now wouldn’t it? Who wants to be the hero first? Just you watch and see.

  • sruthj217 07/08/2010 1:09pm

    I’m not letting some Democrats off the hook either. Don’t forget it was Ben Nelson (D, Nebraska) who also could have helped pass this standalone bill, and stood against it.

    Many in America are known worldwide for taking the selfish attitude, “Give Me Mine and you Keep the Change”.
    I disagree. We are not all in this “Alone”. America is a Country not a chance mess of self seeking individuals. Showing pride in your Country means caring about all its people, not just your own career or family or race. What hurts your neighbor in an economic sense will hurt you tomorrow, even if you think it doesn’t affect you today. This they never realize until too late.

    America is in a Recession and America needs help. To those who think measures like this are unnecessary, I want to say this: A day will come in your lives when you will care and think them necessary, and expect us to also.
    Sorry to preach, but its all I got left. Just a voice for anyone who will listen!

  • indimom2010 07/08/2010 1:14pm

    They all need to realize the help the unemployed need. The Democrats and Republicans need to get this passed ASAP unemployed are hurting/
    IS it true that they will really pay back to June 2. I had exausted my funds and due to go to tier 3. Will I get retro…..does ANY KNOW?

  • Comm_reply
    danijos 07/08/2010 1:28pm

    benefits will be paid back retroactively for people who have been cut off since Congress let the extended filing deadline expire on June 2. Thats what it says. =) Lets all hope for the Best!

  • eavina30 07/08/2010 2:08pm

    he should be fired

  • Ktula7 07/08/2010 2:10pm

    I almost want to cry tears of joy…However, I have been on this roller coaster ride for the past month and I must say, it has done some damage to my nerves to say the least. I hope that they get someone appointed tomorrow and move on with the vote to pass this bill…American families are suffering.

  • dlharris1189 07/08/2010 2:16pm

    I hope you Republican voters in Texas are paying attention!! Freakin Wilco [Williamson County] && their conspirators always cheat the Democrats out of their votes! Last year all of our Democratic House of Representatives were arrested because they walked out of a committee meeting because the Republicans were trying to fix the county lines in their favor. PLEASE VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS SO WE CAN GET THEM THE HELL UP OUTTA THERE!!

  • Ktula7 07/08/2010 2:21pm

    I agree…Bottom line is that the Republicans are supportive of the rich and powerful. They don’t give a damn about the middle class and never will. It’s time that we elect people for the people. We all need to get more involved from now on. After this experience, I vow to make a difference and get more involved in politics! We can’t complain unless we do something!

  • NeedJobs 07/08/2010 4:17pm

    Thanks Donny. This is good news.

  • Blogger 07/08/2010 5:22pm

    I’m not getting my hopes up again. I quit, I’ll have hit my 99 weeks at the end of this month, anyway. And if they can’t even get together on an extension, there’s no way a Tier 5 is happening. I interviewed for a job today that looks good, but they’re shifting the background check cost to me. I have to bring them a report and find some way to pay for it. I can’t sleep, yet feel tired and worn out all the time.

    God help us.

  • Comm_reply
    cgvetintx 07/08/2010 5:52pm

    that is a MAJOR red flag, I would not go to work for that employer

  • Comm_reply
    Blogger 07/08/2010 7:54pm

    Thanks for the concern. They are legitimate, I misread the paperwork. It’s our driving record we have to pay for and send to them. I will be so glad when (if?) the day comes that I don’t have to think “$9.95? Ouch, that’s a lot right now”.

    Against my better judgement, I’m hoping for Congress to do something Monday. Since hope is all we’ve got left, why not?

  • Chris51 07/08/2010 5:56pm

    Senator’s excuse for not passing is a false statement.
    Read all about it:
    The funding argument is even harder to swallow. I’d be more sympathetic with these new converts to fiscal responsibility if they were as enthusiastic about paying for extending $32 billion worth of special interest tax breaks as they are about funding the unemployment extension. If I understand correctly, these lawmakers insist that Congress fund every dime of added jobless aid, which nearly all analysts agree will help boost the economy. But they feel no need to pay for continuing these special interest tax breaks, which will not.
    Full Story:

  • Chris51 07/08/2010 6:29pm

    GOP are determined to bloc everything the President is trying to do for the USA right now. He has a vested interest, and seems to take pride in doing the best job he can while in office.
    We are in trouble as long as Republican politicians continue favoring their special interest.
    How can any CEO or Owner of business get anything done if half of his managers or executives stand in his way just to be defiant.

    President Obama speech on CSPAN today, while in Kansas City, MO to support a future candidate. Was right on.
    If you are an unemployed American, and are thinking no one understands the difficulties of being jobless. Obama speech articulated the financial and emotional struggles well. Hat’s off to the President for saying what needed to be said.

  • shania3949 07/08/2010 6:32pm

    Here is a letter from Senator Corker I received
    Thank you for taking the time to contact my office regarding your support for the unemployment benefits extension in H.R.4213.In these difficult economic times, I understand the problems being faced by many individuals who have lost their jobs. My heart goes out to Americans who are hurting because Washington can’t agree on a way to pay for an extension of unemployment benefits. I voted several times to pass and pay for an extension, but I cannot in good conscience continue voting for bills that aren’t paid for. There are a number of reasonable ways to pay for these extensions, and it is difficult for me to understand why anyone opposes doing so.
    All versions of H.R.4213, both paid for and not paid for, ultimately failed. At this time, it is unclear when the Senate may consider extending unemployment benefits again.
    Bob Corker
    United States Senator

  • Comm_reply
    Blogger 07/08/2010 6:43pm

    “Cannot in good conscience”? My landlord and utility companies won’t take that as payment, speaking of bills that aren’t paid for.

  • debra1962 07/08/2010 7:00pm

    I’m so glad they decided, we have been waiting forever!! I hope they don’t throw a monkey wrench in the plan lol!!!

  • UnemployedAmerican2010 07/08/2010 7:08pm


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