The election of Scott Brown (R) in Massachusetts to the Senate seat once held by the late-Senator Ted Kennedy has seriously impacted the outlook for the Obama Administration’s legislative agenda – and the Democrats’ majority hold on the Senate.
Brown’s election is important because the Obama Administration has not yet enacted several of its stated policy goals, including comprehensive health care reform and the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).
Republicans now control 41 of the 100 seats in the Senate. Democrats will need at least one Republican to move any controversial bill through the chamber because 60 votes are required to stop a filibuster.
Without a 60-vote majority in the Senate, Democrats may try to attach parts of the Obama agenda as amendments to large, popular “must-pass” bills. For example, with so much interest in creating new jobs, some have speculated that EFCA supporters may attempt to add a modified version of the legislation to an employment stimulus bill in the Senate.