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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Reid Cancels Floor Votes in Senate After Brown Suggests He Might Miss Debate


The U.S. Senate‘s efforts to close shop and hit the campaign trail became hopelessly mired in the campaign of one particular U.S. Senator, Scott Brown of Massachusetts.

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate majority leader, went to the Senate floor to accuse Republicans of dilatory tactics designed to get Mr. Brown out of a high-profile debate tonight with his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren. Not wishing to give the Massachusetts Republican any excuses, Mr. Reid blocked any votes until Friday, and quite possibly the wee hours of Sunday morning.

“I've been to a few of these rodeos. It is obvious there is a big stall taking place. One of the senators who had a debate tonight doesn' t want to debate. Well, he can't use the Senate as an excuse. There will be no more votes today,” Mr. Reid declared.

The kerfuffle started when Mr. Reid locked horns with his Republican counterpart, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, over when to have the final votes planned before election, one to keep the government open through March, another on foreign aid, and another to take up a bill pushed by yet another senator struggling to keep his seat this November, Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana.

Mr. Brown has maintained a slim lead in his re-election campaign for months, but three out of four polls in recent days have put Ms. Warren on top, raising the stakes for tonight's debate in Boston.

Caught in a Capitol hallway by a Boston Globe reporter, Mr. Brown seemed to say he would miss the showdown in case he had to vote tonight.

“Bottom line is, the people have sent me down here to do my job - and that's to vote,” th e senator told The Globe. With no votes scheduled, Mr. Brown is on his way to the debate.