Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pointedly called Republican Norm Coleman a "former senator" and said he should concede his re-election race in Minnesota to Democrat Al Franken.
In remarks Tuesday for the opening of the 111th Congress, Reid said that all the votes have been fairly counted and that Franken is "the certified winner by the State Canvassing Board and he is the senator-elect from Minnesota."
"I hope that former Sen. Coleman and all of our Republican colleagues will choose to respect the will of the people of Minnesota," Reid added. "They have chosen a new senator, Al Franken, and his term must and will begin soon."
Reid also said he understood it was "a difficult time for former Senator Coleman and his family, and he is entitled to the opportunity to concede this election graciously.""But we cannot let this drag on forever," Reid said.
Coleman's Senate term officially ended
last Saturday. The Minnesota canvassing board certified
Franken as the winner by 225 votes on Monday. Coleman's team, however, is preparing a lawsuit protesting the result.
Reid also addressed the open Senate seat in Illinois during his opening remarks. Reid said that Roland Burris, the appointee of embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.), lacked the necessary credentials to assume the Senate seat. Reid, however, didn't commit to seating or blocking Burris if he was able to obtain them.
"If Mr. Burris takes possession of valid credentials, the United States Senate will proceed in a manner that is respectful to Mr. Burris while ensuring that there is no cloud of doubt over the appointment to fill this seat," Reid said. "I also understand that Mr. Burris may give testimony to Illinois State Assembly impeachment proceedings against Gov. Blagojevich, and we await that proceeding as well."