Scott Brown Sworn In as 41st GOP Senator, Says Stimulus 'Did Not Create One New Job'

Brown vows to "look at the economy first." White House disputes stimulus slam.

ByZ. Byron Wolf, Jonathan Karl, Huma Khan and Kristina Wong
February 04, 2010, 2:29 PM

Feb. 4, 2010— -- Scott Brown became the 41st Republican member of the Senate today after being sworn in this evening by Vice President Joe Biden.

"I can't promise I will be right on every vote I make, but I have always tried to learn and grow and do the very best job I can on an everyday basis," said Brown, 50, in a press conference after the swearing-in ceremony.

Brown changed the political landscape in Washington with his come-from-behind victory to secure the remainder of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's term.

He originally was scheduled to be sworn in Feb. 11, but Brown's attorney wrote to the Massachusetts governor Wednesday asking to move it up.

"There's no hidden agenda," Brown told reporters. "The answer's pretty basic: I want to get to work.

"There are a lot of votes pending that I would like to participate in," Brown said. "And ever more importantly, [these] are urgent times for our nation."

For example, he cited the president's recently proposed $3.8 trillion budget.

"I am concerned we are living beyond our means," Brown said.

Concerning reports of a pending al Qaeda attack in the next three to five months, he said, "This is frightening news."

"I want to be part of that, and work on these very important issues," he said.

He thinks it is important to "look at the economy first."

"The last stimulus bill did not create one new job," he said. "In Massachusetts, it hasn't created one new job, and throughout the country as well."

The comments came after ABC News asked Brown if he was willing to work with Democrats on a jobs bill.

"In some states, the money that was actually released hasn't even been used yet," Brown said. "We lost another 85,000 jobs again, give or take last month. ... It may have retained some but it hasn't created any new jobs. I need to see the bill."

White House Denies Stimulus Bill Has Not Worked

Brown's comments are at odds with the analysis of the Congressional Budget Office, which says the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act saved or created 600,000 to 1.6 million jobs in the third quarter of 2009.

The White House's Recovery Act Web site says stimulus grant recipients reported creating 9,261 jobs in Massachusetts during the fourth quarter of 2009.

Biden's spokesman refuted Brown's claim immediately after the press conference.

"Economists of all political points of view, including those from the non-partisan CBO, estimate that the Recovery Act has created or saved between 1.5 [million] and 2.4 million jobs across America," said Jay Carney, spokesman for Vice President Joe Biden, the administration's top Recovery Act booster and watchdog.

"Anyone can go to," Carney added, "and see that Massachusetts state and local government, businesses and community organizations have already reported directly funding over 9,000 jobs in the state last year -- and that's based on a only a portion of the total $8.4 billion in recovery funds that have already gone to Massachusetts."

When Brown arrived earlier in the day on Capitol Hill, he told reporters he was honored and humbled to hold the Senate seat once held by Kennedy.

"I was elected. I'm here to work," Brown said.

Brown submitted his resignation today from the Massachusetts state senate, just hours after Gov. Deval Patrick certified the results of the special election.

"It has been one of the greatest honors of my life serving the people of my district in the general court over the past 10 years as a state representative and a state senator," Brown wrote in the letter to the president of the Senate.

Scott Brown Sworn In as Senator From Massachusetts

With Brown's seating, the Democrats' supermajority in the Senate dies. Democrats need 60 votes to avoid any Republican filibuster, but President Obama reminded his party members Wednesday that they still have a big majority.

"All that's changed in the last two weeks is that our party's gone from having the largest Senate majority in a generation to the second-largest Senate majority in a generation. And we've got to remember that," Obama said. "We still have to lead."

Brown's election seemingly ended the possibility of a Democratic-only vote for health care reform in the Senate.

"We need to basically go back to the drawing board," Brown said. "I'm hopeful there will be bipartisan negotiations."

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said today Brown's win means bipartisanship is more important than before.

"I think it changes everybody's calculus as to taking responsibility for governing this country," Gibbs told reporters today. "Assuming that what is insisted upon is 60 votes in the United States Senate, no longer can one party alone hold its members and make progress on important issues for the American people. That's why the president has asked again [for] the Democrats and Republicans work together to make that progress."

There were indications earlier in the week that Brown wanted to take his seat early so he could take part in upcoming votes on several Obama administration nominees.

"While Senator-elect Brown had tentatively planned to be sworn into office on Feb. 11, he has been advised that there are a number of votes scheduled prior to that date. For that reason, he wants certification to occur immediately," Brown's attorney, Daniel Winslow, wrote to the Massachusetts governor Wednesday.

But on Thursday, Brown said votes had nothing to do with the quickened schedule.

"I'd rather be here than home," he told reporters as he arrived on Capitol Hill Thursday afternoon.

Brown said he had not spoken recently to Senate Republican leaders. But he said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, has become something of a mentor to him.

The most controversial upcoming nominee would be Craig Becker, a lawyer for the Service Employees International Union, to sit on the National Labor Relations Board. He had a confirmation hearing earlier this week and the committee could vote very soon.

Brown did not clamor to be sworn in last week, when Democrats passed, on party lines, a measure to raise the debt ceiling by $1.9 trillion. If he had, Republicans would have been able to unite against the measure.

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