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A Possible Loophole for Dems if they Lose Tuesday’s Special Election

January 15th, 2010 Michael McDonough

There is no doubt that Tuesday’s special election in MA could have important consequences for healthcare reform. If Republican candidate Scott Brown takes the election from Martha Coakley, then Democrats lose their filibuster-proof, 60-seat majority in the U.S. Senate, potentially complicating the passage of healthcare reform. Scott Brown has indicated he is not in favor of the current reform, while interim Senator Paul Kirk — currently sitting in Kennedy’s old seat — would vote in favor of it.

Though I am no political pundit, a Republican victory could prompt Democrats to expedite a vote on healthcare reform to exploit the gap between the special election and what would be Mr. Brown’s swearing in. From my understanding, the election cannot be certified until all absentee and military ballots are tallied, which I am told could take up to 10 days after the actual election. Other sources have indicated Brown’s swearing in could be pushed back to as late as February 20th. To the outrage of some voters, this could award Democrats the opportunity to pass the reform while maintaining their filibuster-proof majority. The bottom line here is that a Republican victory in Massachusetts will likely lead to a political pickle. This is just something to think about while watching Tuesday’s results.

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