Sen. Scott Brown Says Congress Must Focus On Jobs

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., addressed the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce in Boston on Monday. (AP)
Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., addressed the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce in Boston on Monday. (AP)

Sen. Scott Brown said Monday the midterm elections only underscored the message of his upset political victory nine months ago, and Congress should return to work this week focused on job creation.

The Massachusetts Republican complained to the pro-business Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce that the House and Senate have focused on job creation for no more than 12 days since he took office in February.

He said that's creating uncertainty among employers and workers and leaving the economy stagnant. He called for business tax cuts and credits, as well as retaining the Bush administration individual tax reductions, to re-ignite the U.S. economy.

"Now the election's over. But we can't go back to business as usual," Brown said. "I can't go back to Washington later today and start working again on fluff, when we should be focusing on the very important things that can get our country and our state moving again."

Democrats have complained that Brown is merely echoing Republican talking points, and that Congress has spent more time on job creation that he acknowledges.

In particular, they cite his September vote - along with all but two Republican senators - against the Obama administration's plan to create a $30 billion government fund aimed at encouraging lending and eliminating capital gains taxes for long-term investors in some small businesses.

Brown called it a bailout, saying it had bank-lending provisions similar to the Troubled Asset Relief Program of 2008.

The new senator told the Chamber audience that "spending is out of control" and "the amount of waste and fraud is unbelievable."

He added: "I just thought it was a soundbite, but as I'm actually investigating these things, it's a reality."

Brown called for bipartisanship, or, as he put it, not worrying "about the little letter after our names."

He added: "Step outside your comfort zone and just get our country moving again. That's why I was sent down there, in one of the more historic elections in our country."

Brown did not address reporters after his remarks, leaving the ballroom in a downtown hotel by a service entrance. An aide said he had to catch a flight back to Washington.

In response to one post-speech question from chamber President Paul Guzzi, Brown sloughed off any concerns about his political future in the aftermath of the midterms.

While Republicans won across the country and regained the majority in the House, they lost every statewide race in Massachusetts. All 10 of its congressional seats also remained in Democratic hands, despite Brown's heavy lobbying for some candidates.

The state and national Republican parties and their affiliates had poured millions into Massachusetts, believing its candidates were strong bets after Brown's upset in January to claim the U.S. Senate seat held for nearly a half-century by the late Democrat Edward M. Kennedy.

While polls have shown Brown now the most popular politician in the state, some political analysts are questioning his re-election prospects following the results.

"Give me a break. Really," the senator said. "The time for running for election will be here soon enough, in another year or so. You know whose jobs I'm worried about? Yours. I'm worried about yours and the people who work for you."

Brown said that with the state's Democratic tradition, he never stops seeking re-election and will run in 2012.

"It's been like 17 years and I'm always the underdog, I get it. I am a Republican from Massachusetts. I have the scars to prove it. But I'm focused on doing this job, and I'm honored to have the opportunity to do it," he said.

Nonetheless, Brown opened his speech with a joke about the situation.

Harkening back to the trademark elements of his winter campaign, he quipped that after his remarks, "I will be outside in my barn jacket, in my green truck, shaking hands with (retired Boston Red Sox pitcher) Curt Schilling."

This program aired on November 15, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.


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