By Lisa Hagen
BU News Service
WASHINGTON- In his first press conference since losing a bid for re-election last week, Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., spent much of his time ducking questions about whether he might seek a return to Senate if Massachusetts’ senior senator, Democrat John Kerry, is nominated for a slot in President Obama’s Cabinet.
“I have a job to do right now and there is not an opening right now for governor or senator, but there is an opening for a dad and a husband and that’s the role that I want to play,” Brown declared late Tuesday.
Brown contended that his “biggest concern” at the moment is ensuring a “smooth transition” between himself and Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who ousted Brown last Tuesday by a 54-46 percent margin.
Brown did note he has personally told Kerry that the latter would make an “excellent secretary of state.” Kerry, a Vietnam War veteran, also has been mentioned as a possible nominee for defense secretary.
If Kerry were to be nominated for the Cabinet and confirmed by the Senate, Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, could appoint a temporary successor – but a special election would have to be scheduled for a date between 145 and 160 days to fill the remainder of the term. Brown won such a special election in January 2010 to serve out the remainder of the term of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.
Also, Patrick has indicated he does not plan to seek re-election in 2014, and there has been speculation about a possible bid by Brown for governor.
Meanwhile, Brown said he wants to focus on completing his term over the next seven weeks by helping to resolve the so-called “fiscal cliff.” The latter refers to the simultaneous expiration of Bush era tax cuts and the implementation of across-the-board, automatic budget reductions – both scheduled for January in a combination that economists have warned could cause the United States to slip back into a recession.
Brown emphasized the importance of finding a way to “step down” from defense cuts that would take place under the “sequestration” process, along with mitigating cuts in social services such as the low income home energy assistance program.
In seeking a compromise on the tax issue, Brown said he is open to increasing revenues by cutting certain tax subsidies. But, echoing the position taken by Republican leaders, he indicated he is strongly against raising income tax rates. Obama has demanded that rates for the highest income taxpayers — those earning over $250,000 per year — revert to the levels at which they were set prior to the Bush era cuts.
Labeling himself as a “bipartisan guy,” Brown said he is hopeful in light of Warren’s statements that she plans to work with both parties to help resolve the country’s issues.
“Regardless of the outcome of the election, we’ve heard from both sides that we are tired of the gridlock and lack of cooperation,” he said, while adding, “I’m hopeful you’ll give [Elizabeth Warren] the same scrutiny you’ve given me throughout the past two and half years.”
As for the GOP, Brown said that “we need to be a larger tent party.”
He declared: “I’m a pro-choice moderate Republican and the middle is vanishing. I’m hopeful that the Republican Party will be a more open-minded and tolerant party.”