Cornyn: Senate GOP won't let Dems seat Franken

The Republican caucus appears ready to filibuster in order to ensure that the Minnesota Democrat won't be sworn in until court challenges are resolved.

Published January 2, 2009 9:45PM (EST)

Is it just me, or has anyone else completely lost track of who's supposed to be serving in the next Senate? There's the ongoing controversy in Illinois, of course, and the guessing game about whom New York Gov. David Paterson will pick to replace Hillary Clinton. And, oh yeah, there's the little matter of deciding just who the hell won in Minnesota. (Not that we've been waiting long or anything -- Election Day was only two months ago.)

Democrat Al Franken currently leads incumbent Republican Norm Coleman by 49 votes, but legal battles could mean that no winner will be officially declared for months. The problem? The new Congress convenes Tuesday. USA Today reports that the state's other senator, Democrat Amy Klobuchar, wants Franken seated, at least until there's a final word about the results. But Senate Republicans don't intend to let that happen -- and they should have the votes to stop it. They'll probably force Democrats to come up with the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster, rather than the simple majority needed to seat Franken.

"I can assure you that there will be no way people on our side of the aisle will agree to seat any senator provisionally or otherwise unless there is a valid election certificate and all legal issues about who got the most votes is finally decided," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, says.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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