01.31.2010 0

Editorial: Scott Brown Should Be Seated Immediately, or the Senate Must Stop Holding Important Votes Until He Is

  • On: 02/03/2010 09:21:37
  • In: Elections
  • Scott Brown was elected to the open Massachusetts Senate seat on January 19th, but has yet to be seated. This, despite the fact that he won by over 109,000 votes. The Democrat Massachusetts Secretary of State has yet to certify the results. And until then, the Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has refused to seat the Republican Senator-elect.

    According to the Boston Herald, “Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin said Tuesday he plans to present the final voter tally to the Governor’s Council for ratification on Wednesday. Then he’ll send a formal certificate of election to U.S. Senate. He notified the Senate Brown was the apparent winner the day after the election…Galvin says he was obligated by law to wait 10 days for overseas ballots for the final tally.”

    Giving the Massachusetts Secretary of State the benefit of the doubt — there is no way to speed up a process limited by law — the Senate must stop holding important votes until Brown is seated. In short, it must uphold a pledge by Reid “not to rush into anything.”

    As noted by ALG President Bill Wilson yesterday, “Anything means everything, not just health care.” Which is fair. Scott Brown was elected to be Massachusetts’ voice on all votes, and the potential 41st vote blocking more than just the government takeover of the nation’s health care system.

    There is no question Brown’s seating will completely change the makeup of the Senate. The Senate Democrat Caucus will lack 60 votes — a filibuster-proof majority.

    The fact is, since Brown won the special election, Reid has been holding very important votes that may have otherwise failed or not even been attempted had Brown been seated. And that is deplorable. Which is why there is not a moment to lose.

    So far, the Senate has voted to raise the debt ceiling by a record $1.9 trillion, confirmed the controversial Ben Bernanke to a second term as Fed Chair, invoked cloture on Patricia Smith for Solicitor of Labor, and now is moving quickly to get Craig Becker onto the National Labor Relations Board. Yesterday, the Senate HELP Committee held a hearing on Barack Obama’s nominee for the National Labor Relations Board, Craig Becker. Source familiar with the process suggest that a vote could come as early as Thursday, and a floor vote on Saturday or Monday.

    Had Brown been merely seated, it is likely the votes on Patricia Smith and the debt ceiling would have never even occurred. Not one Senate Republican voted for either of these two items. And it is highly likely that Brown would have been the 41st vote on these. They would have failed, and thus Reid probably would not have even brought them up.

    Despite Reid’s promise “not to rush into anything,” it is quite clear that everything possible is being rushed through before Brown can impact the political situation in Washington. This is robbing the people of Massachusetts their due representation on some of the most important issues facing the nation today. Brown should be seated immediately. Or else the Senate should postpone any more critical votes.

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