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WASHINGTON Jan 4 U.S. Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid said on Sunday that "legal authority" exists under
the Constitution to bar embattled Illinois Gov. Rod
Blagojevich's pick to fill President-elect Barack Obama's
vacant Senate seat, but added there is also room to negotiate.
Under the Constitution, Reid said, "We determine who sits
in the Senate. And the House (of Representatives) determines
who sits in the House. So there's clearly legal authority for
us to do whatever we want to do. This goes back for
Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Reid said he plans to
meet on Wednesday with Blagojevich's choice for the Senate,
Roland Burris, 71, the former Illinois attorney general, a
Asked if there was room for a possible settlement, Reid
said, "I'm an old trial lawyer. There is always room to
New members will be sworn in on Tuesday with the opening of
the new Congress.
Reid called Burris a "tainted appointment" because of the
governor's alleged misconduct, although he said he did not know
of anything wrong with Burris himself.
Blagojevich, who was arrested on Dec. 9 and accused of
trying to sell Obama's vacant seat, is facing impeachment in
the Illinois legislature in the state capital of Springfield.
Blagojevich has denied the corruption charges and has refused
demands by Obama and others to resign as governor.
Reid said he planned to meet on Monday to discuss the
matter with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. "I hope
we can can solve this issue on a bipartisan basis," Reid said.
Asked if Burris will become a U.S. senator, Reid said, "It
will be very difficult for that to occur." But he added,
"Anything can happen."
(Reporting by Will Dunham and Thomas Ferraro, editing by