Byrd's successor to take oath Tuesday

The Senate will swear in the successor to the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) at 2:15 pm next Tuesday, even though the identity of the new senator remains unknown.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told colleagues Thursday that Democrats would again have 59 votes in their caucus by next week.

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West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III (D) has yet to name Byrd’s successor and he is said to be interested in taking the seat himself.

Manchin has promised to name his choice by 5 p.m. on Friday.

Reid has pressured Manchin to move quickly.

Nick Casey, the former state Democratic Party chair, and former Gov. Gaston Caperton have been named as possible candidates.

Manchin has introduced legislation that would set up a special election on Nov. 2 to fill the remainder of Byrd’s term, which expires in 2012.

Whoever takes the oath of office next Tuesday would serve until the winner of the special election takes the oath of office.

After the Senate swears in the new senator from West Virginia, lawmakers will hold a vote on extending unemployment benefits.

Reid also hopes to finish small business legislation and the military supplemental spending bill before taking up an energy reform bill on July 26.

“It’s my intention to move to the supplemental appropriations bill,” Reid said of next week’s schedule. “It appears we’re going to have a cloture vote on that. But I think we can work out the time on that so it doesn’t take an inordinate amount of time.”