Five GOP Senators, Including Scott Brown Vote With Dems on Jobs Bill
February 23, 2010
(ChattahBox)—-Freshman Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) cast himself as an independent everyman yesterday, after House Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that Brown would break ranks with his party to vote to end the GOP filibuster and allow the jobs bill to come to the floor for a vote. Four other members of the Republican caucus joined Brown, allowing the chamber to proceed with an up-or-down vote: Kit Bond (MO), Susan Collins (ME), Olympia Snowe (ME), and George Voinovich (OH). Before the vote, Reid called on Republicans to show that they’re “serious about legislating.” After the vote, Reid optimistically declared, “I hope this is the beginning of a new day in the Senate.”
The final procedural vote was 62-to-30, with Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NB) joining Republicans to stop an up-or-down vote on a jobs bill, during a time when our country faces a double digit unemployment rate. Let’s be clear; this vote is something of a breakthrough, considering the dysfunctional state of the current Senate, in which the minority Republican Party filibusters everything, bringing the chamber to a standstill. But at the same time, the fact that only five Republicans agreed to end a filibuster of a scaled back jobs bill filled with tax cuts, which they all support, during a deep recession, shows that the Senate is still broken by Republican obstructionism.
As noted by Steve Benen of The Political Animal, “It’s either a rare and encouraging breakthrough, or a relief that comes from the soft bigotry of low expectations.”
After Brown voted to end the filibuster of the jobs bill, the teapartiers on Twitter and right-wing blogs went wild with condemnation, calling Brown a traitor and a RINO. These tea party people, who are noted for voting against their own self interests, apparently want the “freedom” to be unemployed and the “guvmint” off their backs, so they can homeschool their kids in the woods without roads and other services. It’s quite a movement.
The jobs bill comes to a floor for a vote on Wednesday when it’s expected to easily pass with a majority vote from the Democratic caucus. The same Republicans who voted to end the filibuster, may very well vote against the same bill. And that’s fine; as long as legislative measures are allowed an up-or-down vote. That’s Democracy.