Republicans will filibuster any attempt to seat Minnesota Democrat Al Franken when Congress convenes next week, Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn warned his Democratic colleagues Friday.
It was the latest salvo in the war of words touched off this week when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., suggested Franken was drawing near to clinching a victory — despite the fact that as many as 2,000 votes are uncounted and numerous legal challenges loom.
"At this stage, it appears that Franken will be certified the winner by the State Canvassing Board,” a statement from Reid’s office declared Tuesday. “We're keeping abreast of the situation and will make a decision with regard to Senate action at the appropriate point in the process."
That statement drew a sharp rebuke from GOP leaders.
“The American people will see right through Harry Reid’s crass partisan power grab,” Ken Blackwell, who is a leading contender for the GOP chairmanship, told Newsmax. “He wants to manufacture a filibuster-proof majority to push through his liberal agenda.”
Cornyn, the new chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, left little doubt Republicans would fight any attempt to make a Franken victory appear a foregone conclusion by seating him early.
“I can assure you there will be no way that people on our side of the aisle would agree to seat any senator provisionally or otherwise unless there is a valid election certificate and all legal issues with regard to who got the most votes is finally decided,” Cornyn told reporters during a conference call Friday.
Cornyn said he is confident that no Republican would cross the aisle to support seating someone whose election victory has not yet been formally certified. Doing so, he said, would cause “damage to the Senate and its reputation as an institution,” adding, “It would be a recipe for chaos.”
Minnesota officials hope to complete their recount by Saturday, and will review ballot challenges on Monday. They could declare a winner Tuesday.
Legal challenges are likely to drag on for weeks, however.
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