Scott Brown privately lobbied Senate Republicans to block a vote on his opponent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s (D-NH) bipartisan energy efficiency bill, and on Monday they did just that. But New Hampshire’s GOP senator voted for it anyway. And now Brown is in hot water with some local businesses.
Brown’s campaign didn’t deny to Politico, and nor did a Senate Republican leadership aide to TPM, that the former Massachusetts senator — now running in New Hampshire — asked GOP senators to filibuster the bill written by Shaheen and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).
On Thursday Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) acknowledged to the Huffington Post that Brown had reached out to her about the legislation, but said she decided “on the merits” to vote for it.
“I told him what my position was on it and he didn’t push me on that or anything,” Ayotte said. “Obviously, I just did what I thought was best based on my state and voted the way I thought I should.”
Portman, Ayotte, and Sen. Susan Collins (ME) were the only Republicans who voted with Democrats to advance the legislation. Underlying the GOP filibuster is a larger partisan war in which Republicans are retaliating against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for restricting their ability to offer amendments. In this case they demanded a vote on an amendment to approve the Keystone pipeline; Reid offered a standalone vote separate from the Shaheen-Portman bill (which could be vetoed if it passed) and the GOP refused.
The procedural skirmish didn’t matter to New Hampshire business leaders who support the new energy-efficiency incentives the bill creates. Kedar Gupta, CEO of the renewable energy manufacturer ARC Energy in Nashua, N.H. said he was “outraged” and claimed Brown was “motivated by self-interest.” Sean O’Kane, co-founder of Windward Strategies and Partners, called it “appalling and irresponsible.” Both statements were circulated Thursday by Shaheen’s campaign.
A Brown spokeswoman didn’t immediately return a request for comment. On Wednesday his communications director Elizabeth Guyton, asked about his lobbying GOP senators against the bill, told Politico, “Scott Brown was concerned that Senator Shaheen was refusing to allow a vote on the Keystone pipeline, a commonsense and bipartisan project that would immediately create thousands of jobs and lessen our dependence on foreign oil.”