Feb. 10, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

GOP Cries Sabotage of Brown’s Bipartisanship

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Senate Democrats say Sen. Scott Brown’s bills seem bipartisan but contain elements their Conference finds unacceptable.

Republicans claim that Democrats have held up or moved to obstruct additional Brown proposals that had bipartisan appeal similar to his Defense authorization offerings, including a measure to repeal a law requiring a 3 percent withholding of payments to government contractors, the Hire a Hero Act providing tax credits to companies that hire military veterans and animal welfare legislation.

The withholding bill was taken from President Barack Obama's jobs proposal, and Republicans used the measure to highlight areas where they agreed with the president. Similarly, versions of the veterans jobs bill have been proposed by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Precisely because of the bipartisan support for those proposals, Republicans said it was obvious Democrats were moving to prevent Brown from getting credit.

Brown's version of the withholding repeal failed by just two votes, with Democratic co-sponsors, Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) voting against it. A House Republican alternative of that bill later passed, but it was not Brown's bill.

The Senate passed the version of the Hire A Hero Act, but it was authored by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who also faces a tough re-election race next year. Brown was officially a co-sponsor of the bill.

Asked to comment on the GOP complaints in general, Murray said: "I have no idea." The DSCC chairwoman said her focus in the Massachusetts race has been on Warren and the excellent qualities she brings to the race against Brown.

A Senate Democratic leadership aide conceded that Brown's proposals have been subject to roadblocks set up by the majority. But this aide attributed the Massachusetts Republican's legislative heartburn to how he has crafted his bills. Brown, the aide said, included partisan components unacceptable to Democrats within the body of his otherwise feel-good legislation, forcing Democrats to turn to substitute proposals.

The Senate Democratic leadership aide suggested that Brown has given Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) too much influence in the writing of his ostensibly noncontroversial legislation. For example, the aide said, the offset paying for the repeal of the 3 percent tax on contractors in Brown's original bill was politically partisan and therefore insufficient.

"The reason Scott Brown lacks accomplishments in the Senate is because he has been taking bad advice from Sen. McConnell. He took the ... idea from President Obama but then attached a poison pill offset to it," this aide said.

Brown's measure would have paid for the withholding tax repeal by rescinding $30 billion from fiscal 2012 discretionary spending.

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) said the GOP has been able to marginalize Democratic efforts to sideline Brown but that it has been an uphill battle at times.

"It's all politics, unfortunately," Cornyn said. "It doesn't make any sense to me."

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