Washington (CNN) - A moderate Democratic senator is calling on his colleagues to shelve health care reform legislation until Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown takes his seat in the United States Senate.
"In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process, Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia said in a statement Tuesday after Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley in the special election for the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat.
"It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated."
Precincts Reporting: 2,163 of 2,168 (99%)
Scott Brown (R) – 1,161,586 (51.9%)
Martha Coakley (D) – 1,055,409 (47.1%)
Joe Kennedy (I) – 22,165 (1.0%)
Source: National Election Pool (compiled by AP)
Washington (CNN) – Senator Paul G. Kirk, Jr. released the following statement Tuesday night:
“It has been my honor to represent the people of Massachusetts during these past few months, and I respect their choice in this special election. I offered my sincere congratulations to Scott Brown and his family by phone just a few moments ago. I wish him well and will work to ensure a smooth transition.”
Washington (CNN) - In the face of a major political upset Tuesday night and with Republican Scott Brown poised to fill Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts Senate seat – ending the Senate Democrats losing their filibuster proof majority – House Democrats across the political spectrum largely rejected the idea of passing the Senate health care bill.
Liberal New York Democrat Anthony Weiner predicted the Senate bill wouldn't have the votes to pass the House.
Weiner ridiculed House Democratic leaders for holding a meeting to brief House Democrats on negotiations with the White House on a health care bill, telling reporters: "They're talking as if, 'what our deal is, what our negotiators are at the White House.' Yeah, and then the last line is, 'Pigs fly out of my ass' ... It's just, we've got to recognize we are in an entirely different scenario."
Several rank-and-file Democratic lawmakers on the right and the left suggested it may be best now to scrap their big overhaul bill and pass a smaller measure with provisions they can all agree on, such barring discrimination by insurers for those Americans who have pre-existing conditions and closing the donut hole to bring down prescription drug costs. But it's unclear if that option, like other contingency plans Democrats are considering, is doable now.
Weiner argued the Massachusetts results demonstrated that Democrats have to change their strategy on health care.
Washington (CNN) - President Obama called Scott Brown on Tuesday to congratulate him on his victory in the Massachusetts Senate race, the White House said in a statement.
A Brown adviser told CNN the two men had a "very relaxed conversation" and said the president joked about playing Brown and his daughter, Ayla, in a 2-on-2 basketball game. Ayla Brown is a starting guard for the Boston College women's basketball team.
According to the White House, "The President congratulated Senator Brown on his victory and a well-run campaign. The President told Senator Brown that he looks forward to working with him on the urgent economic challenges facing Massachusetts families and struggling families across our nation."
The president also dialed Democrat Martha Coakley to thank her and urge the Massachusetts Attorney General "to continue her advocacy on behalf of working people."
Washington (CNN) - Massachusetts Senator-elect Scott Brown will not be seated until his election is certified by the Massachusetts Secretary of State, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday.
Washington (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Reid issued the following statement Tuesday night:
“The people of Massachusetts have spoken. We welcome Scott Brown to the Senate and will move to seat him as soon as the proper paperwork has been received. I want thank Senator Paul Kirk for his tremendous service over the last few months. His service to the people of Massachusetts in the place of his friend, Senator Ted Kennedy, was brief but honorable.
“While Senator-elect Brown’s victory changes the political math in the Senate, we remain committed to strengthening our economy, creating good paying jobs and ensuring all Americans can access affordable health care. We hope that Scott Brown will join us in these efforts. There is much work to do to address the problems Democrats inherited last year, and we plan to move full speed ahead.
“Regardless of the size of their minority caucus, Senate Republicans have always had an obligation to join us in governing our nation through these difficult times. Today’s election doesn’t change that; In fact it is now more important than before for Republicans to work with us rather than against us if we are to find common ground that improves Americans’ lives.”
Washington (CNN) - How big of a message did Scott Brown send Tuesday by defeating a Democrat in Massachusetts for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat?
Bob Menendez, the New Jersey senator overseeing the campaign efforts of Senate Democrats, isn't even attempting to spin the big loss.
"I have no interest in sugar coating what happened in Massachusetts," Menendez said in a statement shortly after the race was called for Brown. "There is a lot of anxiety in the country right now. Americans are understandably impatient. The truth is Democrats understand the economic anger voters feel, that's in large part why we did well in 2006 and 2008."
Menendez, the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said Democrats "need to redouble our efforts on the economy, the need to show that our commitment to real change is as powerful as it was in 2008, and the reality that we cannot take a single thing for granted and cannot afford even a second of complacency."
Boston (CNN) - A "heartbroken" Martha Coakley congratulated her Republican opponent Tuesday on his upset victory over her to fill the U.S. Senate seat held for decades by liberal Democrat Ted Kennedy.
In a subdued concession speech, Coakley, the Democratic Massachusetts attorney general, said she expected a tough assessment of her loss and lots of "Wednesday-morning quarterbacking" after losing a seat held by Democrats for more than 50 years.
"I am heartbroken at the result," Coakley said, later adding: "Although I am very disappointed, I always respect the voters' choice."
Coakley's defeat to Republican state Sen. Scott Brown was a major blow to Democrats, who now lose their super-majority control of the Senate to imperil President Barack Obama's domestic agenda.
Washington (CNN) - U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement Tuesday night:
“I want to congratulate Senator-elect Scott Brown on his decisive victory. There’s a reason the nation was focused on this race: The voters in Massachusetts, like Americans everywhere, have made it abundantly clear where they stand on health care. They don’t want this bill and want Washington to listen to them. Americans are investing their hopes in good Republican candidates to reverse a year-long Democrat trend of ignoring the American people on the issues of health care, spending and the growth of government.”