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Reid on Burris: 'Our Concern Was Never With Him'

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid circulated a statement of welcome to Roland Burris today, as the appointee of embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was sworn in to the 111th Congress. Formerly a strong critic of the appointment, Reid explained that his resistance to seating the new senator was never about Burris, but rather about the controversy surrounding the indictment of the Illinois governor on corruption charges. Reid explained today, "It is fair to say that the path that brought our new colleague from Illinois to us was unique. Whatever complications surrounded his appointment, we made it clear from the beginning... our concern was never with him. I didn't have the pleasure of meeting Senator Burris until last week. I found him to be engaging, gracious and firm in his commitment to become a good and effective United States Senator."

Reid: Hats Off to Biden

Majority Leader Reid paid tribute to Vice President-elect Joe Biden on the floor this morning, as Biden stepped down after 36 years of service in the Senate. Reid said of his relationship to Biden, "I will always remember with gratitude the kindness he showed me when I first arrived in the Senate in 1987. I'll be forever grateful that he was one of my very first colleagues to support my candidacy for Democratic whip. In fact he called his secretary into our meeting and said - I take no more calls on this. I'm for Harry." Biden's move to the incoming administration, Reid said, will be bittersweet. "America is getting a great Vice President, but the United States Senate is losing a true lion of the Senate. Joe Biden, as he says, is a Senate guy."

McConnell: Let's Debate Ledbetter

Senate Republicans met last night and outlined a proposal that addresses discrimination in the work place that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) considers "more fair for everyone" than the Ledbetter legislation that landed in the House. The bill, as he puts it, "is about how long the statute of limitations on pay discrimination suits should be... It unfairly targets business owners, who may or may not have discriminated against a man or a woman, on the basis of pay years or even decades ago." McConnell's appealing to Republicans to demand an open debate on the Ledbetter bill.

--Sarah Lovenheim

By Washington Post editors  |  January 15, 2009; 5:40 PM ET
Categories:  Dem. Leaders , GOP Leaders  
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