The GOP filibuster failed to materialize after 5 brave Republicans cast procedural votes in favor of the Democratic jobs bill. Newly elected Scott Brown on Massachusetts led the charge and 4 other Republicans followed his lead: Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.). Sen. Bond is retiring.
The Democrats ended up with 62 votes, 2 more than needed to avoid filibuster. according to Huffington Post:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) thanked the newly-elected Republican from Massachusetts. “I hope this is the beginning of a new day here in the Senate. Whether this new day was created by the new Senator from Massachusetts or some other reason, I’m very, very happy that we were able to get this done. But there are some winners. Not any individual Senator, not Democrats or Republicans. The winners are small business people throughout this country.”
Senator Voinovich spoke with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to make certain a surface transportation reauthorization bill was brought to the floor this year. Reid Agreed. The Republican senators didn’t seen to be too worried about what the minority leadership said or thought.
Voinovich, who was patted on the back by a grateful Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) after the vote, said that he could see himself working jointly with Brown and Democrats for the remainder of the term.
“I think he and I are going to do a lot of music together,” said Voinovich. “My vote was reflective of what I thought made sense.”
Voinovich didn’t stick around for any loyalty lectures after his vote. “I have no idea,” said Voinovich when asked what leadership thought of his vote. “I voted and took off.”
Brown also said that he had “no idea” how the rest of his colleagues would vote. But it was good enough for him. “It’s not a perfect bill. I would have liked broader and deeper tax cuts, but I was comfortable with that first vote,” said Brown.
Of the 41 Republicans, 29 opposed the measure, while six skipped the vote. More Republicans skipped the vote than voted in favor.
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), meanwhile, muddled the message of Democratic unity behind the jobs bill. He voted against it.
Those who did the happy dance over the election of Scott Brown the other week are probably scratching their heads wondering what happened. It looks like the Republicans have themselves another. ‘maverick’.’ So what will the minority party do about its new kid in town? He obviously isn’t going to behave himself.
Senator Reid played a little hard ball when he made a direct challenge:
“So to my Republican colleagues, here is your chance. Show us you’re serious about legislating. Show our constituents you’re serious about leading. Show the skeptics that you know putting people back to work is far more important than putting points up on the political scoreboard.”