Burris Hangs in the Balance
The Coleman-Franken battle wasn’t the only drama going down Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Roland Burris, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s pick for Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat, was not part of the swearing-in ceremony for new members of Congress, but he just might make it after all.
The Washington Post:
Burris’s single-minded push may yet succeed. Senate Democrats, once sharply opposed to allowing Burris to be seated because he was appointed by embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), are now considering allowing him to serve as a way to end a confrontation that could drag on for weeks and distract from what they hope will be an end to a decade of gridlock on Capitol Hill. One idea being considered, Democratic officials said, is allowing Burris to be seated if he agrees not to run for election in 2010, allowing the party to recruit another candidate to defend the seat (Burris has lost multiple statewide races in Illinois).
Sen. Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) plan to meet with Burris today [Wednesday] on Capitol Hill, and the two leaders are undoubtedly eager to defuse a situation in which their resistance to the appointment could alienate black voters.
The Congressional Black Caucus, meanwhile, will hold internal discussions about whether it should put its weight behind Burris’s bid to be seated. Two of the most prominent African Americans in the House — Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), who had aspired to the Senate seat, and Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) — both said yesterday [Tuesday] that they think the law stands behind Burris, who would replace Obama as the only African American member of the Senate. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) broke ranks to back Burris yesterday afternoon.