HITTING THE GROUND RUNNING – AT 8:11 A.M. ET: If anyone thought Scott Brown would come to Washington and recede into the "learning curve" mode, think again.
Brown has already thrown down the gauntlet on health care, and emerged as an instant leader. From the Boston Herald:
Sen. Scott Brown yesterday warned the Obama administration against using the “nuclear option” of ramming through Congress a revised $1 trillion health-care bill outlined yesterday by the White House.
The administration unveiled what’s already being called “Obamacare II” - a mix of already approved House and Senate health-care legislation aimed at expanding coverage for 31 million Americans.
Obama’s plan also includes caps on excessive insurance-premium increases, similar to measures Gov. Deval Patrick proposed two weeks ago in Massachusetts.
A spokesman for Brown, whose dramatic Senate victory last month halted Capitol Hill momentum for health-care reform, said Democrats better not try to use a reconciliation strategy to pass the bill with a simple Senate majority.
Brown vowed during his campaign that he would be the crucial “41st vote” to kill reform legislation under the Senate’s supermajority-vote rules.
“If the Democrats try to ram their health-care bill through Congress using reconciliation, they are sending a dangerous signal to the American people that they will stop at nothing to raise our taxes, increase premiums and slash Medicare,” said Brown spokesman Colin Reed in a statement. “Using the nuclear option damages the concept of representative leadership and represents more of the politics-as-usual that voters have repeatedly rejected.”
COMMENT: Great statement. And, most important, a very clear statement, defining what could happen to the American people if the administration forges forward. At a time of mush, people are looking for clarity.
Brown is a natural leader. Talk of 2012, however, is premature and can only hurt him. Yesterday, he actually voted with Dems on a jobs bill, which, although he said it was imperfect, was good enough to get his support. He's a shrewd operator with a fine sense of timing.
February 23, 2010