`Disgusting’ political climate dooming efforts to fix economy, says Brown

WALTHAM — Fresh off his vote against the Obama administration’s $450 billion jobs plan, Republican Senator Scott Brown told the region’s small business leaders today that both Democrat and Republican efforts to fix the ailing US economy are doomed.

Brown said the nation is in the throes of a financial emergency, yet hobbled by political obstructionism that he called “disgusting.’’

“The thing that’s frustrating to me is that there’s no Democrat bill that’s going to pass, folks. There’s no Republican bill either,’’ he said. “Let’s stop playing games.’’

Brown, the featured speaker at an annual meeting of the Smaller Business Association of New England, told more than 300 business leaders that he supported President Obama’s payroll tax cut for employers and employees; a tax credit for hiring veterans; and ending to the 3 percent withholding tax charged to any business that receives a federal contract.

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But he also noted that political gridlock and an inability by a Congressional “supercommittee’’ to agree on budget reductions could trigger spending cuts in defense research spending that could hurt many Massachusetts businesses, small and large.

SBANE is a trade group that helps small companies in Massachusetts and other New England states companies, find capital for growth. Those companies include many technology and defense contracting firms.

Brown said the current political uncertainties have hurt business leaders’ ability to plan and make key decisions about hiring and firing. While Massachusetts’ economy is performing better than the nation’s, people and businesses here are still “hurting,’’ he said, adding that he felt outrage that the Senate undertook only 12 days of policy discussions on “anything to do with jobs’’ last year.

Brown said that Republicans and Democrats must find ways to work together, suggesting voters should “get rid of’’ Senate ideologues, he said.

Recently, Brown said, he joined Democratic Senator John Kerry on a 60-mile charity bike ride where the two talked about how they could “bring the Senate together.’’ He added that he had tried to bolster relationships with colleagues who hold opposing views, noting that he and arch-liberal Minnesota Senator Al Franken, a former Saturday Night Live cast member, share similarities, including a sense of humor.

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Asked during a question and anwer period about his political philosophy, Brown responded, “It truly is me against the machine. … I’m not going to be part of this go along to get along mentality.’’

Megan Woolhouse can be reached at [email protected]

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