Senator Scott Brown’s final speech hints at return and opposes changes to Senate filibuster rules
Senator Scott Brown used his farewell floor speech this morning to foreshadow his potential return to Congress and to oppose changes to the filibuster process that several Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren, have been pushing.
“As I’ve said many times before, victory and defeat is temporary,” he told colleagues. “Depending on what happens, and where we go, all of us, we may obviously meet again.”
Brown, a Republican, has been talking about a possible return to the Senate since his concession speech on election night last month, when Warren defeated him. Warren will replace Brown on Jan. 3.
With President Obama contemplating a potential Cabinet position for the state’s senior senator, Democrat John Kerry, speculation has been rampant that Brown will compete in another special election.
Brown used his nine-minute speech to recite many of his accomplishments, including the three bills he helped pass that afforded him invitations to White House signing ceremonies. He also echoed the bipartisan themes that were central to his campaign.
“I have been and still am deeply concerned about the lack of bipartisan efforts to solve our country’s most pressing economic challenges,” Brown said. “Many times, political party and personal gain is put before the needs of our country.”
But even as he spoke against gridlock, Brown also argued in favor of the importance of allowing the minority Republican Party to block legislation. Invoking the movie “Lincoln,” Brown said that even if issues take months to resolve, that should not be considered a detriment to a vibrant democratic body.
“I’m deeply concerned about any changes in the rules that are being proposed to eliminate the ability for both sides to battle and do battle in a thoughtful and respectful manner,” Brown said.
He was elected in a special election in 2010, following the death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, with a promise to be the 41st vote against Obama’s health care law, which ultimately passed without Brown.
Despite his failure to block the legislation, Brown gave himself a pat on the back.
“To come here as the 41st or the 60th senator, and have the media scrutiny and all the commentary from every special interest group around the country in the middle of a Senate that was gridlocked, and to come here and have an opportunity to make a difference, and do it well without making any mistakes, is something I think benefited Massachusetts, but also benefited this great country,” he said.
Warren and several leading Democrats have been discussing potential changes to the filibuster rules in the Senate that would curb the ability of senators to use the maneuver to block legislation and nominees that would otherwise pass.
They argue that the increased use of the filibuster has prevented the senate from considering issues that once would have been decided on a simple majority vote.Noah Bierman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.