Tags: burris | seated

Reid Reverses, Says Burris May Get Seat

Wednesday, 07 Jan 2009 11:41 AM

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WASHINGTON — In an abrupt reversal, Senate Democratic leaders are sitting down with Roland Burris in the Capitol amid new indications that he's likely to be seated as the new senator from Illinois. But there is no final deal yet, and Senate officials say Burris' appointment still has to be certified by Illinois' secretary of state.

Senate Democrats emerged from a meeting with Senate appointee Roland Burris on Wednesday and set forth the legal steps under which they're willing to welcome him into the Senate in President-elect Barack Obama's vacated spot.

Praising the former state attorney general, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate is awaiting a court ruling in a case that tests whether the signature of the Illinois secretary of state is needed for Burris to take the seat. He suggested that would be a step toward seating Burris.

"We don't have a problem with him as an individual," Reid said at a news conference in which he dramatically softened his party's opposition to seating any appointee of embattled Gov. Rod Blogojevich. Federal prosecutors arrested the governor last month and accused him of trying to sell Obama's Senate seat.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, who also met with Burris, said he hoped the legal matters would be resolved "so we can fill all the vacancies and have a full complement of the Senate."

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Roland Burris will not likely take Barack Obama's Senate seat until a court in Illinois rules on a dispute surrounding his appointment.

While Reid embraced Burris, he said the Senate is awaiting a court ruling in a case that tests whether the signature of the Illinois secretary of state is needed for Burris to take the seat. He suggested that would be a step toward seating Burris.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, who also met with Burris, praised the man and said he hoped the legal matters would be resolved "so we can fill all the vacancies and have a full compliment of the Senate."

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