(CNN) - Senate Democratic leaders think Roland Burris, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's pick to fill President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat, will likely show up on Capitol Hill Tuesday for the opening day of Congress, according to a Democratic aide familiar with Senate Democratic leaders' plans.
They have prepared a contingency plan in case he does, the aide added.
Burris will not be allowed on the Senate floor, according to this aide and a Senate Democratic leadership aide.
Watch: What if Burris shows up?
The aide familiar with Senate Democratic leaders' plans said if Burris tries to enter the Senate chamber, the Senate doorkeeper will stop Burris. If Burris were to persist, either trying to force his way onto the Senate floor or refusing to leave and causing a scene, U.S. Capitol Police would stop him, said the aide.
(CNN) - Caroline Kennedy appears to have cleared a big hurdle in her quest to replace outgoing New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.
New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a powerful Democrat who has questioned whether Kennedy is the best choice to fill the likely vacant seat, said Wednesday he will support Kennedy should she ultimately be appointed to the post.
"I have determined there's a good possibility she will be the appointee of the governor," Silver told the New York Post. "If she is the appointee of the governor, I will certainly be supportive of her. I will work for her and will work strenuously for her election."
Silver's comments differ markedly from his statements last week, when he suggested Kennedy is too closely allied with Michael Bloomberg, the Republican-turned-Independent New York City Mayor.
"If I were the governor, I would look and question whether this is the appointment I would want to make: whether her first obligation might be to the mayor of the City of New York, rather than to the governor who would be appointing her," Silver told an Albany radio station then.
(CNN) - The Gaza crisis is an alarm bell and flashing light for incoming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
As she prepares to become the top U.S. diplomat and the symbol for U.S. policy around the globe, Clinton inherits from the Bush administration a dangerous and unpredictable world in which the violence in Gaza and southern Israel is just one reminder.
Outgoing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is winding down her diplomatic responsibilities and has briefed both Clinton and President-elect Barack Obama about what is playing out in the Middle East. Those talks are private and Team Obama is scrupulously sticking to its "only one president at a time" mantra when it comes to international policy.
But the ground keeps shifting. And events in and around Gaza will force the new secretary of state to deal with questions about the Mideast sooner than she and her advisers might have hoped.
"We'll have to see what the landscape is like by January 20," said David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "We'll have to see what this administration is inheriting."
(CNN) - The hotel that will be home to President-elect Barack Obama and his family for the next couple of weeks offers one of Washington's best views of their future home, the White House, and a past linked with political movers and shakers.
The Obamas will be moving into the Hay-Adams hotel this weekend, aides say. They're doing this in part so that the family's daughters, Sasha and Malia, can begin school when classes reconvene after winter break.
They had hoped to move into nearby Blair House, which president-elects traditionally occupy five days before moving into the White House, early. But the Bush administration said the house, which is used as a guest house for visiting dignitaries, already had events scheduled there and guests who could not be displaced.
(CNN) - Vice President-elect Joe Biden issued a statement Thursday responding to the death of former Sen. Claiborne Pell.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Pell family as they mourn the loss of one of our country's greatest public servants. Claiborne Pell was a man of extraordinary integrity, grace and decency. Chairman Pell was a mentor to me and one of our nation's most important voices in foreign policy for over 30 years," Biden said in the statement.
"He was a leader in the effort to reduce the size of the world's nuclear arsenal and to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. Few Senators have done more to expand opportunity in America. Because of Senator Pell and the Pell Grant, the doors of college have been opened to millions of Americans - and will continue to be opened to millions more. That is a legacy that will live on for generations to come."
(CNN) - Former Sen. Claiborne Pell, who was largely responsible for the Pell Grants for U.S. college students, died early Thursday morning at his home in Newport, Rhode Island, his family announced.
Pell, 90, "died peacefully in the presence of his wife Nuala and family members," the family statement said. He had suffered from Parkinson's disease for a number of years.
Born in New York City, Pell graduated from Princeton in 1940 and Columbia University in 1946, serving in the U.S. Coast Guard in between and later in the Coast Guard Reserve. Pell also worked for the State Department and as a foreign service officer from 1945 to 1952 in Czechoslovakia, Italy and Washington.
He was first elected to the Senate from Rhode Island in 1960, and served from January 3, 1961, to January 3, 1997, when he retired. He was the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1987 to 1994, and was named U.S. delegate to the United Nations in 1997.
But Pell's great passion lay in education and the arts and humanities, believing that the country's people were its greatest asset. Largely through his efforts, Congress created the Pell Grants in 1973. He was the main sponsor of the bill creating the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama plans to meet with key Capitol Hill leaders on Monday to discuss his economic stimulus plan, according to congressional sources who say precise scheduling is underway.
One Democratic leadership aide tells CNN specifically that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will sit down with the president-elect one day before calling the new Congress into session.
A meeting involving the Republican leaders is also under discussion, sources say, but details are being worked out.
(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama is set to host the Commander-in-Chief's inaugural ball, an event that honors the country's active duty and reserve military.
It's a tradition that started in 2005 by President Bush, according to the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Invited guests will include Purple Heart recipients, families of fallen heroes, and spouses of deployed military, the committee said.
The ball is set to be held at the National Building Museum on January 20.
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin hasn't yet said anything publicly about her 4-day-old grandson, Tripp, but she does want people to know that Tripp's parents – her eldest daughter Bristol and her fiancé Levi Johnston – are hard at work and keeping up with school.
"You need to know that both Levi and Bristol are working their butts off to parent and going to school and working at the same time," Palin told PEOPLE in a phone message Wednesday. "They are certainly not high school dropouts."
The former vice presidential candidate said she wanted to be clear about their continuing work toward high school degrees because any suggestion otherwise "harms Bristol's reputation and Levi's reputation and their chances for good work opportunities."
(CNN) - Even in a recession, Obama merchandise sells - and the Presidential Inaugural Committee is again looking to fashion icons to cash in, teaming up with designers to raise funds for next month’s presidential inauguration.
The latest “Runway to Change” collection — part of the official inauguration memorabilia Web store unveiled Wednesday - features designers like Tory Burch, Diane von Furstenberg, and Zac Posen. Shoppers can choose from merchandise like tote bags, T-shirts, and an Alexander Wang scarf monogrammed with the word “Change.”
In keeping with the nation’s budget-conscious mood, prices top out at $70 — a fraction of what designs by these fashion industry heavyweights usually command.
The “Runway to Change” line launched during Obama’s presidential campaign, and featured apparel and accessories created by name-brand supporters of the then-candidate.