GOP Takes Ted Kennedy's Senate Seat
The Republican candidate in Massachusetts has taken Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in an surprise victory today. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Republican Scott Brown had 52 percent of the vote to Martha Coakley's 47 percent.
Brown's victory strips the Democrats' 60-seat Senate supermajority needed to overcome Republican filibusters. Senate Democrats used all 60 votes in their caucus to pass the health care bill, and Democratic leadership was scrambling today to save health care reform, The Hill reports.
Democratic aides say that senior White House officials would prefer the House pass the Senate healthcare bill without changes, which would obviate the need for a second Senate vote on the legislation.
The problem is that many liberal lawmakers in the House don't like the Senate bill.
To compensate for this opposition, there is a proposal that the House would then pass a second measure making changes to the Senate bill. That measure could then pass through the upper chamber at a later date under special budgetary rules known as reconciliation, which allow legislation to pass with a simple majority.
Although Brown is pro-choice, abortion became a point of attack between the two candidates. Brown is a member of the Christian Reformed Church of America, The Boston Globe reported in a story in November.
The family worships at New England Chapel in Franklin, a member of the Christian Reformed Church of America, a Protestant denomination, but has developed a special relationship with an order of Cistercian Catholic nuns at Mt. St. Mary's Abbey in Wrentham.
Many of the 48 nuns are from other countries, and Brown's first contact was in response to their request for help on an immigration matter.
"It has turned into a beautiful friendship,'' said Sister Katie McNamara, the monastery's nurse.
Brown raised money to buy a special golf cart to transport elderly sisters, and, with his wife, has assisted efforts to raise $5.5 million needed to replace the order's 50-year-old candy factory with an environmentally friendly plant, complete with solar panels and a wind turbine. The order is self-sustaining through sale of its candies and fudges.