• 77°

Massachusetts vote sends message

By Staff
U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner
Guest column
Last week’s stunning decision by Massachusetts voters to place a conservative into the U.S. Senate seat that was for more than 40 years the pulpit of Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy certainly sent political shockwaves rippling across Washington, D.C., and the nation.
In the Senate, the Democrat’s 60-seat super majority has just been pushed back to 59. The pick-up of the Massachusetts Senate seat now allows the Republican minority to initiate delaying tactics, including filibustering, in order to stall or block controversial legislation. Such parliamentary tricks don’t exist in the House, but can be critical in derailing the Senate majority’s increasingly unpopular legislative express.
While there had been talk of the Senate leadership delaying the official seating of Senator-elect Scott Brown until after a final vote on health care, that does not appear to be the case.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, has pledged to accept Brown without delay.  President Obama also called on Congress to hold off on any health care vote until Senator-elect Brown is seated.  This is a welcome move.
The arrival of Scott Brown on Capitol Hill is — to use an overworked phrase — a political game changer.  Already, the national media is reporting that the Obama administration is reformulating its legislative playbook for 2010 — focusing now on jobs and bolstering the economy, rather than advancing a controversial platform of reform legislation.
Unfortunately, this strategy doesn’t mean that the administration’s push for government run health care is going to be abandoned any time soon.  Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, told reporters, “We will have a health care bill.
As you know, the administration and its House and Senate leadership have for months chosen to force their health care reform plan on the American people — meeting behind closed doors and breaking promises of openness and transparency.  Frankly, it’s just this kind of cavalier attitude by a liberal majority and the administration that has led the American people to rise up as we witnessed last week in the bluest of blue states.
As President Obama embarks on his second year in office, it’s an appropriate time for him to stop and listen to the people and finally make good on his promise to grow jobs. Job-killing higher taxes, costly government energy mandates and a restrictive health care system will not stimulate our economy. 
The American people are looking for leadership and the president can demonstrate a real commitment to our country’s future by lowering taxes on small businesses, opening domestic energy sources for development, working with Republicans to truly reform health care without a government take over, and by taking steps to reverse out of control government spending.
There’s still time, Mr. President.