Capitol Hillbillies

Reid screwed the pooch on Burris seating

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was eager to hit the ground running in 2009. Then, with the cameras rolling, he planted his first step firmly on an upturned rake.

Thwack.

We can only hope that the Lesson of Roland Burris left a lasting impression on the Senate leader. But so far, all that we have seen is that the Democratic leader has much to learn about leading his newer, stronger majority in a new age that is driven not by the old muscle politics, but by the power of streaming video politics.

Senate leaders agree to seat Burris

Reversing course, Senate Democrats grudgingly accepted embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s hand-selected Senate appointee, Roland Burris, as they sought to break an impasse over President-elect Barack Obama’s former seat.

The new Illinois senator is expected to be sworn into office later this week.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois made the announcement in a joint statement Monday, saying Burris "is now the senator-designate from Illinois and, as such, will be accorded all the rights and privileges of a senator-elect."

Clinton appears set for easy confirmation

From the disappointment of a failed White House bid, Hillary Rodham Clinton is on the threshold of the world’s stage as chief diplomat for the Democrat who defeated her.

Clinton appeared set to sail smoothly through a Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, despite concerns among some lawmakers that the global fundraising of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, could pose ethical conflicts for her as President-elect Barack Obama’s secretary of state.

Republicans return to familiar territory

Out of power, Republicans appear to be retreating to familiar old ground. They’re becoming deficit hawks again.

GOP lawmakers didn’t seem to mind enjoying the fruits of government largesse for the past eight years while one of their own was in the White House. Now they’re struggling to regain footing at a time of economic rout, a record $1.2 trillion budget deficit and an incoming Democratic president claiming a mandate for change.

Mr. Burris ready to return to Washington

Roland Burris, buoyed by a favorable court ruling, may return to the U.S. Senate next week and demand to be sworn in to fill the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama, a Burris adviser said on Saturday.

"Roland is considering going back to the Senate and his advisers are urging him to do so — unless this is suddenly resolved by Monday," the adviser said on condition of anonymity.

On Friday, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled as valid embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s appointment of fellow Democrat Burris to the Senate seat.

Divisions threaten Obama’s stimulus plan

Lawmakers are under orders to finish action on President-elect Barack Obama’s nearly $800 billion economic recovery plan by mid-February. But already it is plain that a set of serious fissures need to be bridged if the bill is to be completed within five weeks.

Obama urged Congress on Thursday to "act boldly and act now" to fix an economy growing perilously weaker, even as top Democrats said they dislike key provisions, especially the design of his tax cuts.

Senate retreats on seating Burris

Senate Democrats beat a hasty retreat Wednesday from their rejection of Roland Burris as President-elect Barack Obama’s successor, yielding to pressure from Obama himself and from senators irked that the standoff was draining attention and putting them in a bad light. Burris said with a smile he expected to join them "very shortly."

Senate may find a way to seat Burris

Senate Democrats are looking for ways to defuse the standoff that has denied Roland Burris the vacated Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama of Illinois, but maybe not much longer.

While Burris’ paperwork was rejected at the opening of the 111th Congress, he 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.