Burris Seated After All?
It’s been widely reported that Roland Burris is going to be seated as Illinois’ junior United States Senator after all.
Democratic aides are disputing reports that there is a deal to seat Roland Burris, even as Burris sits behind closed doors negotiating with Majority Leader Harry Reid and Majority Whip Dick Durbin.
The Associated Press reported a deal had been made, but two Senate Democratic aides, in interviews with Politico are disputing the report that there has been a deal. The report is “wrong,” said Reid spokesman Jim Manley. In a press conference this morning, President-elect Barack Obama declined to take a position on whether to seat Burris. Burris himself is planning two more press conferences today — one at the Hyatt on Capitol Hill and one back in Chicago after he flies home to testify in the impeachment proceedings against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
If there is an eventual deal, it would be an extraordinary turnabout by Senate Democrats. But the momentum has been growing toward a deal on Burris, as more Democrats were becoming uncomfortable with the situation and Burris seemed to have serious political and legal momentum. No details of the meeting have been released. Reid, Durbin and Burris were scheduled to meet from 10:30 to 11 a.m. today.
Blagojevich calculated, apparently correctly, that refusing to seat a qualified black man would be too difficult to sustain politically. Absent evidence that Burris was involved in shady dealings to get the seat — and none exists, so far as I’m aware — Reid and company are going to have to swallow their pride and seat the man who was lawfully appointed.