Burris to head back to D.C.

Ill. lawmakers call for Burris to resign
February 23, 2009 4:40:30 PM PST
Despite the calls for his resignation, U.S. Senator Roland Burris will return to Washington, D.C. this week.But as he prepares for his trip, two Illinois congressman used the Burris controversy to push their plans for a special election.

The two Republican congressman began their joint news conference on the subject of food safety. But they ended the event focused on the desire of either or both to run for an Illinois United State's Senate seat in a possible special election.

"Any time a U.S. Senate seat appears before you, it's something you take a long, slow look at," said U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, (R) Western Suburbs.

"I have been looking at it but there is no election today," said U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, (R) Northern Suburbs.

But Roskam and Kirk's ambition is tempered by the political reality that some Democrats in Springfield and Washington oppose a special election that could lead to a Republican victory.

"There is not a special election scheduled and the reason for that is that the Democratic party and their leadership in Springfield put their party before their state and before their country," said Roskam.

By mid afternoon, House Speaker Madigan had not given thumbs up or down on Illinois House Bill 2543. It was written by McHenry County representative Jack Franks to require a election within four months to fill a U.S. Senate seat whenever a vacancy occurs.

On Friday, Governor Quinn called on Rod Blagojevich appointee Roland Burris to resign while at the same announcing his support for the Franks bill as a way to choose Burris's replacement.

"With everyone coming on board I think it gives the bill more credibility and I think the speaker will listen and he will compromise on this," said Rep. Jack Franks, (D) Marengo.

Burris inside the silver SUV that sped away from his South Side home on Monday morning has given no indication he'd resign under any circumstance. He plans to return to Washington on Tuesday for President Barack Obama's address to the joint session of Congress.

Burris faces an inquiry by the Senate Ethics Committee as well as a Sangamon County prosecutor's investigation into the senator's truthfulness on events leading up to his appointment by the ousted Blagojevich.

"In the halls of the United States Senate, he's not held in high regard. He has little influence and cannot carry the agenda of our state," said Kirk.