Washington, D.C. Eager to put the scandal-tainted standoff behind them, Senate Democrats accepted Roland Burris as President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate successor on Monday and said they expect to swear in the new Illinois senator this week.
At a news conference in Chicago, Burris called himself honored and humbled to be the state’s next junior senator. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve,” he said and added: “I recognize that my appointment triggered a challenging time for many.”
Initially Democrats had tried to dissuade Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who faces a state Senate impeachment trial, from making an appointment and suggested that his pick would not be seated. Last week, Burris’ credentials were rejected by Senate Democrats in a circus-like atmosphere that tarnished the opening day festivities of the new Congress.