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.

Senate turns away Illinois Senate designate Burris

Roland Burris tried to take President-elect Barack Obama’s Illinois Senate seat Tuesday but failed in a scripted piece of political theater staged just before the opening of the 111th Congress. "Mr. Burris is not in possession of the necessary credentials from the state of Illinois," declared Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Burris, 71, earlier confirmed that Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson had informed him in a private meeting that his credentials lacked a required signature and his state’s seal.

Congress set to grapple with economy, Obama agenda

The Democratic-dominated Congress convenes Tuesday to confront perhaps the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and to grapple with a hugely ambitious agenda set by President-elect Barack Obama.

The opening day of a two-year session is typically more ceremony than substance, and Congress often recesses until the new president takes office or after the State of the Union address at the end of January.

Roland Burris can’t get no respect

Although he calls himself a senator, Roland Burris has found little support among fellow Democrats in his effort to take the Senate seat to which embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed him.

The Senate was scheduled to convene at noon Tuesday with its newest members. Yet the controversy over the appointment of Burris by a governor accused of trying to sell the old seat of President-elect Barack Obama and the ongoing dispute over election results in Minnesota practically guaranteed that both seats would remain empty by day’s end.