Durbin suggests Burris resign from US Senate

Ill. lawmakers call for Burris to resign
February 24, 2009 6:10:08 PM PST
U.S. Senator Roland Burris was asked to resign during a meeting on Tuesday with Senator Dick Durbin. But Senator Burris refused his colleague's request to step down.The two senators met for about an hour on Tuesday afternoon. Afterwards, Senator Burris said little, leaving Senator Durbin to brief reporters.

"I told him that under the circumstances I would consider resigning if I were in his shoes," said Sen. Durbin.

Late Monday night, after his flight landed in Washington, a tired but determined Roland Burris let it be known that a resignation was not in his plan.

"You see me heading back to Washington to do my job," said Sen. Burris.

Some nine hours later, Burris was inside his Senate office. The sign-in book indicated that within 90 minutes he met on official business with over a dozen visitors. Burris told some of them he wasn't going anywhere.

"He just said he was planning to stay. That's all he said," said Lou Vargas, Disabled American Veterans.

"His name is on the door. So we're here to see our current senator," said Grant Seaholm, Illinois Principals Association.

Senator Durbin said he told Burris not to expect any political support from him in 2010 should Burris decide to run for full term. Burris did not seem worried as he walked to the Senate Chambers for what he called an important vote to consider granting the predominantly African American District of Columbia a seat in the House of Representatives.

"We've got 600,000 residents of the District of Dolumbia who have been disenfranchised all of these years," said Burris.

Burris' newly-hired spokesman said the announcement of a chief of staff is eminent and the office soon will offer a full menu of constituent services.

"Senator Burris' office is totally up, running and functional. He's excited to be back at work doing the work of the people, doing the work of a country and for Illinois," said Burris spokesman Jim O'Connor.

But Senator Durbin did not appear enthusiastic about his home state colleague or the continuing controversy that surrounds Roland Burris.

"People of Illinois are bone weary of this stuff. They want this Blagojevich burlesque to end," said Sen. Durbin.

Burris was appointed by disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was impeached and driven from office after accusations he tried to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.

Burris is facing calls for his resignation after he admitted trying to raise money for Blagojevich. Burris has said he did nothing improper.

He refused to comment after meeting with Durbin.

Burris did not respond to ABC7's Charles Thomas Monday night when Thomas asked the senator if he "had done any thinking about his situation" over the weekend.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs asked that Burris use Saturday and Sunday to reflect on "what lays ahead" for the embattled senator, who faces a perjury investigation in Illinois and a Senate Ethics Committee inquiry in Washington.

Spokesman Jim O'Connor said Burris plans to vote and speak on the Senate floor Tuesday and attend President Barack Obama's speech to the joint session of Congress Tuesday night.

You can watch Obama's speech live here on abc7chicago.com tonight at 8 p.m. CST.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.