House members returned from their recess over the holidays today, and health care legislation was the number issue on the agenda. The Senate race in Massachusetts, though, could change the dynamics of the debate, should GOP State Senator Scott Brown prevail next week. The Democrats risk losing their 60-seat filibuster proof majority with a Brown win.
However, while the special election for the Massachusetts Senate seat previously held by Ted Kennedy has yet to be decided, the Brown campaign has already charged that Massachusetts Democrats will find a way to keep Mr. Brown from being certified, should he win, before the final vote on health care legislation happens in the Senate. Fox News spoke to Mr. Brown about his concern on this issue.:
“When I heard … the machine, not only locally but nationally, is trying to manipulate the process and make sure that if I’m elected, a duly elected senator, I can’t be seated in an effort to vote on this important piece of national legislation, it made me almost sick to my stomach,” Brown said.
“Everything I’ve heard right now I don’t like very much,” said Massachusetts Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei, noting the secretary is signaling he will “drag his feet”
“That is the stupidest thing I’ve been asked in a long time. That is insane, the suggestion could only come from a demented right wing source,” erupted Representative Barney Frank (D - MA), when asked by The Washington Times about what he thought of assertions that Massachusetts Democrats would stall the certification process should Mr. Brown win. “There isn’t the slightest possibility of it happening–a way of doing it. That is conspiracy theory at its most contemptible.”AUDIO
The Boston Herald reported that, according to a source, Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin’s office wants to certify the race on Feb. 20. A spokesman for Mr. Galvin’s office explained that local election districts have to wait at least 10 days before they submit their returns, so military and overseas ballots can be tallied as well. 15 days is the maximum amount of time to submit the returns to the secretary’s office, before they go to governor’s office.
After the race is certified on the state level, the new Massachusetts Senator-elect would then have to be sworn in by Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D - NV). An aid from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office sent an email to media saying the winner of the Massachusetts race would be sworn in promptly.:
“When there is a certified winner in Massachusetts, the Senate has received appropriate papers, and the vice president is available, the successor to Kennedy/Kirk will be sworn in.”
The special election for the vacant Massachusetts U.S. Senate seat will happen on January 19.