Senator Scott Brown has taken the lead over Elizabeth Warren in the Massachusetts Senate race. But his lead won’t last – not once the voters of Massachusetts see Brown’s partisan record of voting against unemployment insurance.
As a senator, Brown has played the role of stooge for the Senate GOP’s hostage-taking tactics. He’s repeatedly demanded deep cuts to social insurance programs like Medicare as a condition for approving unemployment benefits, leveraging his ability to unilaterally block any Senate bill to implement austerity by fiat. Then, as one of only a few Republicans to vote with Democrats for negotiated compromises, he has spared other GOP senators ownership of the consequences of their opposition to unemployment benefits; as a result, they remain free to demagogue unemployment insurance even as Democrats do the hard political work of making sure families aren’t abandoned to 8.3% unemployment.
Brown may be ahead, but that’s a losing record. (And a well-documented one.)
The House passed extension legislation shortly before Memorial Day, but a Republican filibuster, supported by Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown as well as a handful of Democrats, has kept Senate leaders from bringing the bill to a vote. Republicans are insisting that Congress offset the cost of the bill with other spending cuts, and not add to annual federal deficits that are now running more than $1 trillion.
“We need to stop the deficit spending and start offsetting the cost of worthy programs by cutting wasteful spending in other places,’’ Brown said in a statement. “This requires elected leaders to make hard choices, but our country’s economic stability requires that we get our fiscal house in order.’’
“Wasteful spending,” for Brown, refers to programs that support the disabled, elderly and poor, which must be cut or the unemployed get nothing; on the other hand, Brown supports the renewal of the Bush tax cuts without “offsetting the cost.”
The 60 to 40 vote to move the bill ahead ended a Senate deadlock that has cost 2.5 million Americans their benefits, including tens of thousands in Massachusetts, since June 2.
The close vote and political drama highlighted how jobs and the economy will dominate debate in the upcoming Congressional elections.
The vote split the Massachusetts delegation, as Republican Scott Brown voted against allowing the bill to move forward, agreeing with his fellow GOP members that the $34 billion for the unemployment extension should only be approved if it does not add to the deficit; John Kerry and Democrats say the government needs to respond to an economic emergency, to avoid more people slipping into financial crisis and losing their homes.
Brown held true to his principles on this one. GOOD FOR HIM!
Anybody with a bit of Scrooge or the Grinch in them should head on up to Boston Thursday night for the “Christmas & Holiday Party with Senator Brown.”
It’s a must-do, don’t-miss event for anybody with a stony heart who otherwise has little opportunity to go out during the season of tiresome cheer and goodwill.
Scott Brown is of course the new senator from Massachusetts whose decisive vote on Tuesday kept Congress from extending unemployment benefits that will now run out for 2 million Americans during the holiday season. And that is not counting their kids.
Who’s waging a war on Christmas, again?
Brown also voted against jobs for teachers and first responders.
“Scott Brown, Stop Voting Against Jobs.”
That was the chant heard in Danvers last night as 50 teachers, first responders, unemployed workers and community activists gathered outside the Co Co Key Hotel, where Scott Brown was speaking to a group of CEOs.
This demonstration came in response to Brown’s vote last Thursday to block the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act. With that vote, Brown blocked 400,000 education jobs that could have been saved or created and stood against funds that would have prevented thousands of layoffs for cops and firefighters.
I can’t wait to see Senator Warren in action!