Pundits’ verdict: Scott Brown to shake things up on Capitol Hill

Gautham Nagesh Contributor
Font Size:

Going into the weekend, newly sworn-in Senator Scott Brown is the only thing anyone in Washington is talking about aside from the weather. Regardless of whom you read, one thing seems certain: Pundits expect the junior senator from Massachusetts to put the brakes on President Obama and the Democrats’ ambitious legislative agenda.

From the Gaggle:

And yet [Brown] also said that the country needed far more aggressive tax-cutting than the president is proposing. Those cuts, he said, would spur growth — and, he implied, would pay for themselves. He decried the reach of government regulation and, all in all, sounded more like “Don’t Tread on Me” than “Can’t we all get along?”

And the sense I got of his character — tough, confident, a little cocky — comported with the role he played as a shooting wingman on the Tufts basketball team a long time ago. His nickname was “Downtown Scotty Brown,” in honor of his willingness to hoist the long shot.

One contentious vote upon which Brown is expected to make an impact is the nomination of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. From the AP:

[Becker] won party-line approval by a Senate committee on Thursday, but that won’t be enough to win confirmation — at least for now — in the full Senate. Republican John McCain of Arizona, Obama’s opponent in the 2008 presidential election, plans to block the nomination, arguing that Becker would make pro-union changes on the NLRB without congressional approval.

It takes 60 votes to break a Senate filibuster, so the solid 41 mean McCain’s “hold” will stick if every other Republican agrees.

Brown has described himself as a moderate and promised to represent those views in Washington:

“You know, I’m an independent voter and thinker. I always have been. I’m going to spend some time this weekend looking at everybody’s qualifications. And I’ll make my decision known when I — when I vote,” Brown said Thursday. “All I can tell you is that I’ve had no contact with the leader’s office or anyone else. I’ve spoken to Senator McCain a few times, only because he’s somewhat of a mentor and he’s been helpful getting the office set up.”

That hasn’t prevented Republicans from trying to pull him into lock-step with the rest of the Senate minority:

“If Democrats continue to move to the left, it’s going to be hard for him to keep his campaign promises and vote with them,” said South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, leader of the Senate’s conservative steering committee.

So what are Brown’s top priorities now that he has taken his place in the Senate? The answers shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone:

“Well, obviously it’s jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs. Try to figure out how we can get the economy moving again. We have a budget where we have to rely on 40 percent — we have to borrow 40 percent to even make it work. And that’s troubling. So we need to look at the budget, try to figure out how to, you know, get the economy moving again.”

Whether that will translate into support for the jobs bill currently being debated in the Senate is anyone’s guess. But one thing is certain: Downtown Scotty Brown is suited up and ready to enter the game.