Democrats in the US Senate are scrambling to limit the fallout from their shock defeat in the Massachusetts by-election.
But any thoughts of playing political hardball and speeding through a healthcare reform bill have been squashed by President Barack Obama.
“I just want to make sure this is off the table,” said Obama. “The Senate certainly shouldn’t try to jam anything through until Scott Brown is seated – the people of Massachusetts spoke, he has to be part of the process.”
Instead Obama has signalled he might prefer a scaled-back overhaul of his healthcare effort rather than lose it and other legislative initiatives.
Obama’s push to widen healthcover in the US has divided the country and many see the Massachusetts result as a protest vote.
Andy Sabino, a Boston resident was not so sure:
“I don’t think it was just health care that people were focused on, there were other, I think other issues that Brown had to his advantage. There’s just a lot of backlash against Democrats in the state generally. They control basically the state house, the governorship, legislature, they control everything and I think there’s just a lot of backlash, people aren’t that happy with anyone right now.”
Scott Brown’s win lost Obama his 60-seat “super” majority in the Senate, endangering his agenda.
Everything from climate change to financial regulatory reform is now vulnerable to Republican ‘filibuster’ tactics that can hamper the passage of bills.