Reid: Goodwin will help move stalled unemployment benefits

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Friday that the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s newly named replacement will support the stalled unemployment benefits extension. 

Without Byrd (D-W.Va.), Senate Democrats have been unable to pass the extension, which Reid has said will come up again on Tuesday. By naming Carte Goodwin (D) to the Senate, West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) gave Reid the vote he needs to move the bill.

“When we swear in Senator-designee Goodwin next Tuesday, we will continue to move forward on many important policies to help middle-class families, including creating jobs, extending unemployment insurance and strengthening small businesses,” said Reid in a statement. “I look forward to serving with Carte Goodwin and I know that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me to welcome him to our Senate family.”

The House passed the $34 billion measure before August recess, but Democrats have not been able to muster enough support to invoke cloture on the measure. 

Almost all Republicans opposed the measure, arguing that it should be fully funded. But Democrats have used their opposition as a political cudgel to say that the GOP is uninterested in helping the jobless.

Reid also noted that Goodwin’s predecessor, Byrd, was a “powerful and irreplaceable voice for West Virginians, a consummate Senator who never forgot where he came from or what his constituents needed.”

Goodwin, 36, is Manchin’s former general counsel. He will become the youngest senator when sworn in and will replace the man who was the oldest to serve the upper chamber.