Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) delivered a stinging rebuke of partisanship and Capitol Hill gridlock on the Senate floor today that seemed squarely aimed at an election 13 months away.
Emphasizing that Members of Congress are “Americans first,” as opposed to Republicans or Democrats, Brown called for bipartisan jobs legislation that could be passed by both chambers and signed into law.
He questioned how any Senator could always vote on the party line and bemoaned the practice of forcing votes on bills that lack the support to ever become law.
“Governing wisely doesn’t mean spending all of our time politicking” or forcing “uncomfortable votes, putting those votes in the bank for more petty attacks during the election,” Brown said.
“But why else would we spend hours and days trying to ram through one-sided bills that can’t pass, simply to highlight our differences?” he asked rhetorically.
Brown voted with the GOP 78 percent of the time in 2010, according to numbers compiled by Congressional Quarterly.
He faces a tough re-election landscape in Democratic Massachusetts and is working to position himself as an independent voice for the Commonwealth.
Brown also appears to be attempting to tap into Massachusetts voters’ substantial dissatisfaction with Washington, D.C., and the country’s direction.
Noting the responsibility that constituents have given each of the Members, he said the partisanship and gridlock was letting folks back at home down.
“With every petty attack, they get more cynical and expect less and less from the people who serve in this great and historic chamber. And while Washington bickers, their faith in our democracy is waning,” he said.
The late September poll of 1,005 Bay Staters showed Brown almost neck and neck with Harvard University professor Elizabeth Warren, the frontrunner in the Democratic contest to take on Brown. Warren pulled 38 percent of registered voters, while Brown took 41 percent.
In a key metric of Brown’s ability to pull in enough voters to win in November 2012, 50 percent of those polled said they thought “Scott Brown has been an independent voice for Massachusetts.” That’s a number to watch over the coming months.
In late 2010, the most recent statistics available from the Massachusetts secretary of state, just more than half of registered voters were unenrolled with either party. Thirty-six percent were registered Democrats and just 11 percent were Republicans.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee knocked Brown’s attempt to paint himself as an independent.
Leaders from military and veterans service organizations joined Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Kelly Ayotte , R-N.H., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at a press conference to urge the Senate to replace a provision in the budget proposal that cuts retirement benefits for veterans. Wicker, Ayotee, and Graham earlier called for a bipartisan solution to replace the $6.3 billion in cuts to military retiree benefits.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.