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Scott Brown to be sworn into Senate on Thursday

Updated 4:20 p.m.
By Perry Bacon Jr.
Massachusetts Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R) will be sworn into office Thursday, a week earlier than expected, officials in Washington said Wednesday.

Brown's admission to the Senate will officially end the 60-vote majority Democrats have held for much of the last year and give Republicans enough votes to band together and block legislation as they choose.

Brown was elected Jan. 19 in a special election to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. He had originally been slated to join the Senate on Feb. 11, but in a letter to Massachusetts' governor and secretary of state, he asked that his election be certified as soon as possible so he could participate in key votes. Brown did not detail which votes he wanted to take part in.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) is expected to sign an election certificate for Brown on Thursday morning, and the senator-elect would fly from Boston later in the day to be sworn in.

Senate Democrats say the swearing-in is likely to happen at 5 p.m on Thursday.

Congressional Republicans said privately that seating Brown earlier could help them block Democratic nominees opposed by the GOP, specifically noting the nomination of Craig Becker, whom Obama has nominated to join the five-member National Labor Relations Board. Becker isan associated general counsel for the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO. A Senate committee is due to vote on his nomination Thursday, setting up a confirmation vote on the floor by next week.

Republicans blocked Becker's nomination much of last year, after complaints from business groups that he is too biased in favor of labor unions to serve on the NLRB. But the Obama administration renominated Becker to the post last month.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent heavily to attack Obama's health care plan, accused Senate Democrats of trying to "jam Becker's nomination through before Senator-elect Brown comes to Washington."

Democrats deny this claim, noting they agreed to seat Brown as soon as Massachusetts officials certified his election.

Brown's swearing-in comes as President Obama is increasingly pushing congressional Republicans to reach compromises with him on key legislation.

Democrats have held a 60-vote supermajority on most issues in the Senate since Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) defected from the Republican Party and joined their ranks last April. But Senate Republicans have used a variety of legislative tactics to slow much of the Democrats' agenda, requiring the majority to collect every one of their votes in favor to move forward with legislation.

With Democrats now holding 59 votes, then, key legislation and nominations will now require the agreement of at least one Republican.

Brown has said hinted that he will not vote in lockstep with the GOP, calling himself a "Scott Brown Republican" in a recent interview. But he has ruled out backing the health-care bill passed by the Senate in December.

By Perry Bacon Jr.  |  February 3, 2010; 3:16 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Capitol Briefing  
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Comments

Did you see Obama talking to the Dems.. he has bigger problems than one lousy GOP senator being added.. that was the first time I saw the POTUS on the ropes.. he seemed much more comfortable talking to the GOP's the other day.

Posted by: newbeeboy | February 4, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

I thought that Lieberman was the 41st Republican?

Posted by: Krazijoe | February 4, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Massachusetts, the Kingdom of the "Scr*w You, Got Mine" crowd... will crown their King tomorrow in the Senate.....Scott Brown 41...that's just about the number of Americans who now will have no healthcare coverage ....41 Million. 41 Million laid off workers, mothers with sick kids, kids with sick mothers, the dying and uninsured.... Congratulations Party of NO.

Posted by: logcabin1836 | February 3, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

The Party of NO now has an apostrophy
NO. Scott Brown 41, nothing more than a monkeywrencher. Tens of millions of Americans who desperately need healthcare now will not.

Posted by: logcabin1836 | February 3, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Brown Scott or Brown Shirt?

Posted by: logcabin1836 | February 3, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Brown Scott or Brown Shirt?

Posted by: logcabin1836 | February 3, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Good for you Senator elect Scott Brown. I am a Democrat and I am tired of all the Democrats liberal BS and one is the illegal immigration issue and giving amnesty to illegal aliens and turning a blind eye to this crisis in the United States. The citizenry is doomed on the illegal immigration issue. We are becoming a Spanish speaking nation with most of El Salvador, Mexico, etc. nationals.

Posted by: illegalalien | February 3, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

RED SOX FANs ... the Kennedy Curse on the Red Sox starts with Scott Brown swearing in. No World Series win till there's no Republican in the Kennedy seat in Mass. Six Years minimum.

I'm going to enjoy your desirved suffering.

Posted by: Senavifan | February 3, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

@ AWWNats: Scott Brown requested to be seated no earlier than Feb. 11th so he'd have time to hire staff. Now he's changed his mind and is being granted his wish.

That cannot be too hard for even you to understand now could it?

But if you want an example of a political party holding up the seating of a Senator just look to the 2008 election in Minn.

Posted by: JRM2 | February 3, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

The US Attorney General should investigate this delay ... oh, that's right, another political hack.

Posted by: AWWNats | February 3, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

With the democrat supermajority broken (not to mention the coming elections), they will have reason to go into "bipartisan" mode. If the republicans go into it too, perhaps we'll finally see the benefits of the salaries and perks we provide the politicians.

Posted by: deadmanwalking | February 3, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick is responsible for this unseemly delay. Patrick who just happens to be a Democrat, is doing very badly in the jobs approval polls (34% approval) just in time for his re-election bid this November.

Posted by: screwjob11 | February 3, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Brown should have been seated a week ago. This will only hurt the Dems.

Posted by: 45upnorth | February 3, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

he number of voters who give Congress a poor job performance rating is now at its highest level in more than three years. More voters also think most members of Congress are corrupt.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 61% of likely voters say Congress is doing a poor job. Just 12% give Congress good or excellent ratings, marking no change from last month. Positive ratings for Congress have changed little from a year ago, when 14% gave the legislature good or excellent marks.

Posted by: mharwick | February 3, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

#41 Is not a majority # sorry to say, 59 is! Democrats need to pour it on, it's the right thing to do!

President Barack Obama was left a MESS, as Republicans left town after losing 8 Million jobs, in eight years, left you a record/debt/Deficit $1.5 TRILLION Dollars, and left office with the lowest job approval rating in the history of the United States Presidency 20%! These facts are why the United States economy is in the Mess it's in NOW! President Barack Obama, doing all he can to clean up a "BIG REPUBLICAN/MESS, as the Republicans still say "NO" to you and Change, that's why America's in the Mess it's in, and that's why only a "FOOL" would ever vote for another Republican!

..."As a registered Voter/Vet USAF, I am disgusted with what the REpublicans/Blew it Bush Administration has done to my country, and the MESS they left America in!

..."Be sure now you RUN and vote Republican again...APPRECIATE IT!

Posted by: ztcb41 | February 3, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

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