Augusta, MAINE – Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett released the following statement urging Senator Susan Collins to call for a delay in a vote on the Republican tax bill until Senator-elect Doug Jones of Alabama is seated:
“Last night, the people of Alabama spoke loudly and powerfully when they voted to send Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate. Now the Senate has a choice: continue to rush the tax bill through Congress or heed the will of the people of Alabama by waiting to proceed with a vote until Senator-elect Jones is seated.
“Senator Collins has the opportunity to stand up and do what is right. The Maine Democratic Party urges her to call on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to postpone next week’s expected vote on the tax bill until Senator-elect Jones is sworn into office. To rush such an unfair, corporation-enriching, deficit-exploding tax bill through Congress in the aftermath of Doug Jones’ election would be an affront to the voters of Alabama and would undermine the democratic process.”
There is precedent for delaying major votes following the special election of a U.S. Senator. For example, in 2010, after Republican Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts Senate race to replace Senator Ted Kennedy, Senator Jim Webb, a Democrat of Virginia, called on Senate leaders to suspend a vote on healthcare legislation until Brown was sworn into office. Democrats heeded his call, which at the time was praised by Senator McConnell:
“One concern I know a number of you had about the outcome of this election would be whether the new senator would be seated soon,” McConnell said in 2010. “I am convinced now that no gamesmanship will be played by the other side with regard to future votes in the Senate, thanks to Senator Webb of Virginia. He’s made it clear that he will not participate in any additional health care votes prior to Senator Brown being sworn in. Let’s honor the wishes of the people of Massachusetts and move forward.”
In response to that 2010 special election, Senator Collins said that Brown’s election reflects “the fact that so many people are appalled at the process by which the health care bill was negotiated behind closed doors, rammed through the Senate with limited debate and amendments, and riddled with special deals to garner votes.”