In a massive breaking and developing news story, it is a very busy and interesting day for the United States Congress. It is quite interesting for both houses of the US Congress. On the US Senate side, former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris was sworn in by current US Vice-President Dick Cheney. It is official Burris will be filling in the US Senate seat vacated by United States President-Elect Barack Obama.
Obama won the Presidency by a landslide over his GOP rival Senator John McCain of Arizona on November 4, 2008. Later, Obama would vacate his Senate seat to prepare for the transition to the White House. However, controversy rose up when Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was charged for selling Obama’s seat for favors.
One would assume that it would be awhile before Obama’s seat is filled. Blagojevich went ahead and appointed Burris. At first, Burris was rejected at the US Senate on the grounds that the certification was not signed by the Illinois Secretary of State. At the same time, Senate Democrats said that they would not accept anybody appointed by Blagojevich.
Burris had talked with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. He said that there were no wrong dealings between himself and Blagojevich.
Today, Burris took the oath of office of being a US Senator. He was welcomed with a standing ovation.
“To Senator Burris, on behalf of all senators – Democrats and Republicans – we welcome you as a colleague and as a friend,” Reid said.
But there was no time to celebrate. Burris would have to get to work in casting the vote for the final half of the $700 billion bailout.
In that respect, Congress approved releasing the second and final half of the bailout package which is $350 billion. It was two days ago that Obama requested those funds. It was voted that the funds will be released after Obama is inaugurated into office.
Obama officially takes office on January 20.
Here is a breakdown on how the funding will be used: $130 billion will be used for health care, $100 billion will be used for education, $30 for highway construction, $10 billion for mass transit and public transportation, and $3 billion to improve the nation’s airports.
Overall, Obama’s request for funds for the bailout has been approved by Congress. On Burris’ first day on the job as the US Senator from Illinois, he got to cast his vote in regards to the bailout.