DEMS WILL NOT SEAT BURRIS…. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich thought Senate Democrats wouldn’t have the guts to reject Roland Burris’ appointment to the Senate. He thought wrong.
The Senate Democratic Leadership issued this statement this afternoon, in advance of the Blagojevich press conference, which is set to begin in a half-hour:
“It is truly regrettable that despite requests from all 50 Democratic Senators and public officials throughout Illinois, Gov. Blagojevich would take the imprudent step of appointing someone to the United States Senate who would serve under a shadow and be plagued by questions of impropriety. We say this without prejudice toward Roland Burris’s ability, and we respect his years of public service. But this is not about Mr. Burris; it is about the integrity of a governor accused of attempting to sell this United States Senate seat. Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus.
“Next week we will start one of the most important debates of the year — outlining an economic recovery plan to create jobs and invest in America. And in the coming weeks, we will be working to protect homeowners and consumers, make America more energy independent, strengthen our national security, and improve health care and educational opportunities. There is much work to do and a lot at stake. It is thus critical that Illinois and every other state have two seated Senators without delay.
“We again urge Gov. Blagojevich to not make this appointment. It is unfair to Mr. Burris, it is unfair to the people of Illinois and it will ultimately not stand. The governor must put the interests of the people of Illinois and all Americans first by stepping aside now and letting his successor appoint someone who we will seat.”
Good for them. It might have been tempting for them to seat Burris and end the questions about the vacancy, but Senate Dems did the right thing and followed through on their threat to Blagojevich.
We’ll see if and how the governor responds to this in about 30 minutes.