By Matt Viser, Globe Staff
WASHINGTON – The amendment failed, but the precedent should not go unnoticed:
US Senator John Kerry joined onto a proposal that was being pushed by his new Republican colleague, US Senator Scott Brown.
Kerry backed the first piece of legislation filed by Brown, an amendment that would have provided tax breaks for workers by using unspent federal stimulus money. The amendment quietly failed last week – by a 44-to-56 vote – although Brown plans to keep pushing for it.
The amendment, “Immediate Tax Relief for America’s Workers,” would have for six months cut payroll taxes for nearly 130 million workers throughout the country. Brown’s office estimated it would have been worth $100 per month for the average worker.
Brown addressed the issue today on Boston-based WRKO-AM during the debut of a new show hosted by longtime Republican consultant Charley Manning.
“It was a good first step,” Brown said of Kerry’s backing.
Kerry was one of only four Democrats who voted in favor of Brown’s amendment (the others were Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Chris Dodd of Connecticut, and Evan Bayh of Indiana).
Kerry has supported similar measures in the past. In 2002, he wrote an op-ed for the Globe that outlined his own plan for a payroll tax cut.
“It’s funny, Scott and I have had great communication, and we actually talked the night before about the fact that our proposals were similar and we saw eye to eye on the basic concept,” Kerry said in a statement to the Globe. “So in my mind it made sense, it’s just that simple. I’m not one of these Senators who votes against something they’ve supported in the past just because their name isn’t on the amendment any more or it’s coming from the other side of the aisle.”
“I think Scott made a good faith effort and he was very serious about it,” Kerry added.
The amendment would have been attached to a $15 billion jobs package pushed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Brown, who has been criticized for being one of the few Republicans to support the bill, said today, "I'm going to continue to vote for it."
Matt Viser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.