Saturday, January 9, 2010

Stunning: Scott Brown swearing-in would be stalled to pass health-care reform

Yesterday, I suggested that Americans could help stop the Democratic health care plan by supporting the ascendant candidacy of Scott Brown for Ted Kennedy's seat in the U.S. Senate.  Well it turns out that the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth has other ideas (via Tim Graham at Newsbusters).  From the Boston Herald:
Few have considered the Jan. 19 election as key to the fate of national health-care reform because both Kirk and front-runner state Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democratic nominee, have vowed to uphold Kennedy’s legacy and support health-care reform.

But if Brown wins, the entire national health-care reform debate may hinge on when he takes over as senator. Brown has vowed to be the crucial 41st vote in the Senate that would block the bill.

The U.S. Senate ultimately will schedule the swearing-in of Kirk’s successor, but not until the state certifies the election.

Today, a spokesman for Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, who is overseeing the election but did not respond to a call seeking comment, said certification of the Jan. 19 election by the Governor’s Council would take a while.

“Because it’s a federal election,” spokesman Brian McNiff said. “We’d have to wait 10 days for absentee and military ballots to come in.”

Another source told the Herald that Galvin’s office has said the election won’t be certified until Feb. 20 - well after the president’s address.

Since the U.S. Senate doesn’t meet again in formal session until Jan. 20, Bay State voters will have made their decision before a vote on health-care reform could be held. But Kirk and Galvin’s office said today a victorious Brown would be left in limbo.
In contrast, Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell) was sworn in at the U.S. House of Representatives on Oct. 18, 2007, just two days after winning a special election to replace Martin Meehan. In that case, Tsongas made it to Capitol Hill in time to override a presidential veto of the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Brown blasted the double standard:
“This is a stunning admission by Paul Kirk and the Beacon Hill political machine,” said Brown in a statement. “Paul Kirk appears to be suggesting that he, Deval Patrick, and (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid intend to stall the election certification until the health care bill is rammed through Congress, even if that means defying the will of the people of Massachusetts. As we’ve already seen from the backroom deals and kickbacks cut by the Democrats in Washington, they intend to do anything and everything to pass their controversial health care plan. But threatening to ignore the results of a free election and steal this Senate vote from the people of Massachusetts takes their schemes to a whole new level. Martha Coakley should immediately disavow this threat from one of her campaign’s leading supporters.
So far, no comment from Coakley's campaign.

Jules Crittenden and Ed Morrissey have more.  Morrissey sums it up succinctly as usual:
Apparently, the Democrats are afraid of responding to the will of the voters in Massachusetts. They have grown accustomed to having their power go unchallenged in the Commonwealth, and don’t take kindly to upstarts butting into their business. Their best plans now include keeping a man appointed by an unpopular governor in place to keep a popular choice for the Senate seat out of Congress long enough to get a wildly unpopular bill passed.

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