[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/09/art.brown0309.gi.jpg caption=" Despite the fact he opposes the bill, Republican Sen. Scott Brown took to the Senate floor Tuesday to announce he would vote to end a Republican filibuster on a bill extending unemployment benefits and tax credits."]
Washington (CNN) - Barely a month in office, Sen. Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts, is putting some muscle behind his independent image by twice voting against his own party and questioning the use of the filibuster.
Brown took to the Senate floor Tuesday to announce he would vote for cloture, or to end a Republican filibuster, on a bill extending unemployment benefits and tax credits. This, despite the fact he opposes the bill and technically the filibuster helped his cause.
"I have very serious concerns about the overall cost of the bill," Brown told the chamber, "but my vote for cloture signals that I believe we need to keep the process moving." He also said, "there has been a week of debate and allowing this bill to receive an up-and-down vote, would be a step, I feel, in the right direction."
With Brown’s help, the nearly $140 billion bill cleared the procedural hurdle on a vote of 66-34, setting it up for passage.
This was the second time Brown bucked his party on a filibuster vote. In late February, the new senator was one of five Republicans who voted to end a filibuster on a $15 billion jobs bill.
It is rare for a senator to vote for cloture, thus advancing a bill, while opposing the bill itself. Votes on filibusters are often defacto decisions on the content of the proposal.
Brown campaigned as the would-be "41st" Republican senator, whose vote could block the Democratic health care bill using the filibuster process. He did not mention that debate or the Senate health care bill in his remarks Tuesday.