Yesterday, Harry Reid did the wrong thing for the right reason: he barred Roland Burris from being seated as Illinois junior senator because the Illinois Secretary of state hadn’t signed his qualifications. This is the law; and the way things should be done; but that’s not why Harry Reid rejected Burris. Reid rejected Burris because he was appointed by indicted IL Governor Rod Bagojevich.
Not a good reason to turn down a duly-appointed Senator from the State of Illinois. No.
This morning, after a few hours of having his feet held to the fire, Reid decides to weasel out of his “irrevocable” decision and seat Senator Burris — even though Burris still doesn’t have the proper credentials from the IL Secretary of State Jesse White.
WASHINGTON (CBS) – Senate Democrats plan to accept Roland Burris for President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant seat.
Burris was scheduled to meet Wednesday with the Senate’s top two Democrats — Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and assistant leader Dick Durbin of Illinois — on Wednesday, a day after his paperwork was rejected at the opening of the 111th Congress.
Senate officials in both parties, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly for Senate members, said there is a growing expectation on Capitol Hill that the saga will end with Burris being seated.
Blagojevich shocked Democratic leaders by appointing Burris to finish the final two years of Obama’s six-year term in the Senate just three weeks after the governor was arrested on corruption charges in what federal prosecutors said was a scheme to sell or trade Obama’s vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder. Blagojevich denies the accusations and has yet to be indicted. There has been no indication that Burris was involved in the alleged scheme, and he has not been accused of any wrongdoing. Democrats have repeatedly said the issue is Blagojevich, not Burris’ qualifications.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Rules Committee, told reporters Tuesday evening that Burris should be seated. “If you don’t seat Mr. Burris, it has ramifications for gubernatorial appointments all over America,” the California Democrat said. “Mr. Burris is a senior, experienced politician. He has been attorney general, he has been controller, and he is very well-respected. I am hopeful that this will be settled.”
And where is President-elect Obama during all this?