February 4, 2010: Scott Brown Sworn In as Massachusetts Senator

SCOTT BROWN SWORN IN:

Scott Brown, standing with his wife, Gail Huff, was sworn in to the Senate by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Stephen Crowley/The New York Times Scott Brown, standing with his wife, Gail Huff, during a reenactment of his swearing-in to the Senate by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. The actual ceremony took place moments earlier on the floor of the Senate where cameras are not allowed.

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Factbox: Democrats face battle for Senate majority: Republican Scott Brown’s formal arrival in the U.S. Senate on Thursday robbed Democrats of their crucial 60-vote supermajority and set the stage for a bitter November election fight for control of the 100-member chamber…. – Reuters, 2-4-10

THE HEADLINES….

  • Brown sworn in as US senator from Massachusetts: Republican Scott Brown took over the seat of the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy on Thursday, vowing to be an independent voice in a bitterly divided Senate. “I can’t promise I will be right in every vote I make. … I will do the very best job I can,” Brown told reporters. Brown was sworn-in by Vice President Joe Biden at a Capitol Hill ceremony a week earlier than he originally planned, and just in time to plunge into a partisan fight over President Barack Obama’s choice of a union attorney for a top labor job…. – AP, 2-4-10
  • After a dizzying ascent, Scott Brown sworn in as Mass. senator: Scott Philip Brown was sworn in to become the 50th US senator from Massachusetts this afternoon, completing a dizzying several weeks in state and national politics to assume a legendary seat and immediately rejigger the national political climate…. – Boston Globe, 2-4-10
  • G.O.P. Senator Is Sworn In, and Democrats Regroup: President Obama and Congressional Democratic leaders sought to reset their agenda as they lost their 60th vote in the Senate on Thursday, trying to push ahead with measures to spur more job creation even as they grasped for ideas to keep alive their health care legislation. On the day Scott Brown of Massachusetts was sworn in as the 41st Republican senator, Democrats offered only the bare outlines of their approach to jobs legislation and met at the White House to hash out a strategy for their agenda…. – NYT, 2-4-10
  • Brown Is Sworn In as the 41st Republican: Scott Brown took his place in the Senate this evening, ending the 60-vote Democratic supermajority and placing a Republican in the seat that Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts – that most Democrat of Democrats – held for nearly half a century. The swearing-in of Mr. Brown held extra symbolism since his arrival brought to a close the Democratic ability to shut down Republican filibusters from solely within their own ranks as long as two independents voted with them. The Democratic majority shifted only by one, to 59-41, but it was a seismic shift nonetheless… – NYT, 2-4-10
  • New senator Scott Brown sure gets down to Republican business: Republican Scott Brown took over the seat of the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy on Thursday, vowing to be an independent voice in a bitterly divided Senate.
    Brown, the surprise victor in last month’s special election, had raised no objection to taking his oath of office on Feb. 11. But then conservative commentators complained that he was dilly-dallying; the Boston Herald’s Howie Carr accused him on Wednesday of taking “a three-week victory lap.” So, in one of his first major decisions since winning election, the Republican made his choice: He would cave in to his conservative critics. He requested — no, demanded! — that he be seated promptly — no, immediately! — so that he could start to do the important work of being a senator. Democratic Senate leaders complied with his demand (they even let him have Ted Kennedy’s primo office suite), and Vice President Biden made time to swear in Brown on the Senate floor at 5 p.m. Thursday…. – Washington Post, 2-4-10
  • With Scott Brown sworn into Senate, parties shift strategies: Massachusetts’ Scott Brown was sworn into his Senate seat Thursday, giving Republicans the 41 votes needed to filibuster legislation… – CS Monitor, 2-4-10

POLITICAL QUOTES

  • Scott Brown after the oath of office was administered by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.: “I want to get work. I am glad to be able to finally fully participate in the affairs that effect of our nation.” –
  • Brown’s remarks to the press following his swearing-in: It’s a great honor to stand before you as the new United States Senator from Massachusetts.
    I want to express my gratitude and appreciation to many people, starting with my wife Gail, to Vice President Biden, to Senators Kerry and Kirk, to Leader McConnell, and to so many other people who have been generous with their time and their advice.
    I especially want to thank the people of Massachusetts who sent me here. I can’t promise I’ll be right in every vote I make. I’m sure I’ll make mistakes from time to time. But I will try to give them my level best every day.
    My daughters Ayla and Arianna could not be here, but I felt their presence. The bibles I used for today’s swearing-in belong to my daughters, and I stacked them one on top of the other and took my oath on them. So they were both with me in spirit.
    People have asked me why I wanted to get sworn-in so quickly after the results had been certified. It’s because I want to get to work.
    There are a lot of votes pending that I would like to participate in.
    Even more importantly, these are urgent times for our nation. The President this week submitted a $3.8 trillion budget. We’ll have to borrow 40% of that amount because we don’t have the money to pay for all that spending. I’m concerned we’re living beyond our means. Also this week, the CIA director said there will be another al-Qaeda attack in the US in the next 3 to 6 months. This is frightening news, and we owe the people of America everything we can do to deter and prevent future attacks on our nation.
    So I’m glad to be fully able to participate in the affairs our nation at this critical time.
    I also want to extend my appreciation to all of you in the press. I see many familiar faces here and I want you to know how much I respect the work you do, and the patience and many kindnesses you have shown my family… – Boston Globe, 2-4-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Will Scott Brown make the ‘party of no’ more obstructionist? Democrats say Republicans use petty tactics to block President Obama’s agenda. But Senate Democrats had a hard time passing legislation even when they had a filibuster-proof majority: Obstruction in the Senate is not new. :Obstruction has been a trend in the last 20 or 30 years,” says Julian Zelizer, a congressional historian at Princeton University in New Jersey. But it’s been tougher for Democrats, because of “heightened expectations about what was going to happen after the 2008 elections.” He adds: “The dysfunctions of Congress are amplified because of the contrast with all the excitement of 2008 and the reality we now see.” – CS Monitor, 2-2-10
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