Why would Scott Brown filibuster his own bill?

In the annals of bizarre Senatorial behavior, this has to be right up there (if you don’t count Larry Craig and David Vitter, that is).  HT to HesterPrynne for calling this to everyone’s attention.

Scott Brown (along with John Kerry, 4 other Democrats, and 2 other Republicans – actual bipartisanship!) is a co-sponsor of S. 493, the “SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011,” known on the House side as “The Creating Jobs Through Small Business Innovation Act of 2011.”  According to the NIH’s legislative office,

S. 493 would reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs (STTR) for 8 years; increase the SBIR set aside to 3.5 percent over 10 years and increase the STTR set aside to 0.6 percent over six years; and allow small business concerns majority-owned and controlled by venture capital firms to be eligible for up to 25 percent of the SBIR funds.

Some fairly technical stuff, but basically, this is a jobs bill.  It’s also one that seems especially likely to benefit Massachusetts, as both the SBIR and STTR programs “help fund small innovative companies on the brink of new technologies and discoveries” – exactly the kinds of companies that we have lots of here, and that generate good jobs.  Indeed, as Scott Brown himself said just a couple of weeks ago while visiting a center in Cambridge devoted to start-ups and emerging businesses in connection with some different legislation,

“The businesses at work here have the potential to create new industries and jobs for Massachusetts,” said Senator Brown. “But these entrepreneurs need help converting their new ideas into jobs; that’s why I continue to push for pro-growth policies and have filed targeted legislation to speed their success.”

Makes total sense, and no doubt that’s why Brown co-sponsored S. 493.

But then he filibustered it.  WTF?  Why would you filibuster a bill that you actually co-sponsored?  Now, maybe there’s a perfectly good reason, like some evil amendment got slipped in or something.  If so, I’d love to hear about it.

Or maybe Scott Brown was doing what, sadly, he does a lot: following Mitch McConnell’s lead when not too many people are watching.  Sure, he likes the bill – that’s why he co-sponsored it.  But Mitch wants a filibuster?  OK, he’ll go along.  Wouldn’t want to annoy Mitch too much.

Pathetic.  Surely, Massachusetts can do much better.

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2 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. The McConnell reason is hard to believe

    because Brown would not have been the 60th vote that would have broken the filibuster. There were only 52 yes votes. There was only one not voting Democart (Akaka) who likely would have been there if he were the deciding vote. Incidentally NO Republicans voted for it.

    As to the amendments,
    2 of Coburn’s passed – and Brown voted for it.

    Inouye’s failed – Brown voted for cloture, the Republicans filibustered it.

    Then there were the 4 amendments on the EPA – all of which failed. Brown voted for McConnel’s and amendment to stop the EPA on greenhouse gases and Rockefeller’s to delay it for a year – and against the Baucus and Stabenow ones.

    It is hard to believe that Brown and Snowe would vote against the bill they worked on because they were angry that the Democrats defeated the EPA regulation. The Inouye amendment seems to be the only additional vote they lost – and it was the Republicans who stopped it. The listed purpose was:

    “To provide for the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to submit recommended rescissions in accordance with the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 for Government programs and agencies with duplicative and overlapping missions.”

    I tried looking at his Senate site, but found nothing explaining it – under legislation, all you get are links from Thomas – which say what happened, but nothing on the reason. Under press releases, agin nothing here in the month after he voted against it.

    I looked to see if he spoke on the floor – something I would expect if someone who was a co-sponsor and who “rose in strong support” of the bill on March 17 in a speech on the floor would explain his flip flop – when there seemed nothing added that he was against. But – no speech on that bill.

  2. NY Times explains

    Snowe and Ayotte were in the same situation: co-sponsors who voted to continue debate. Snowe was even a co-author.

    Here is the explanation:

    Snowe wanted to debate an amendment to this bill, but Democrats refused. All Republicans voted for a filibuster in protest, killing a bill at least some of them wanted. Dems eventually allowed the same amendment to be debated in terms of attaching it to a different bill, but the amendment failed.

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Tue 28 Mar 11:55 AM