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Scott Brown, doing damage from afar

The former Republican senator may have lost his re-election bid in 2012, but he's still helping his party kill bipartisan legislation.
Then-Sen. Scott Brown in Princeton, Mass., on Jan. 17, 2012.
Then-Sen. Scott Brown in Princeton, Mass., on Jan. 17, 2012.
When Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) was actually a senator, he was able to play a direct role in helping his party defeat legislation through filibusters. But Sabrina Siddiqui and Ryan Grim report that Brown apparently doesn't need to be a lawmaker to undermine legislative progress.

New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown called Senate Republican leadership to urge them to stop a bipartisan energy efficiency bill, so as not to give Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), the bill's Democratic sponsor and his Democratic opponent, something to run on. The Huffington Post first reported on Tuesday that Brown, a former senator from Massachusetts, lobbied against the bill as recently as last week. The Shaheen-Portman bill failed to clear a procedural hurdle Monday despite enjoying broad bipartisan support. Although the legislation had 14 co-sponsors -- seven from each side of the aisle -- just two other Republicans ultimately voted with Portman to end debate on the measure: Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and Susan Collins (Maine).

Remember, at issue was the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, which a bipartisan group of lawmakers worked on for a year and a half, nailing down broad bipartisan support. The legislation was so uncontroversial, even the Republican-led House passed a comparable version fairly easily.
The whole package was really just "a bundle of small-bore provisions aimed at cutting homeowners' energy use, utility bills and carbon footprints by, among other measures, making it easier for consumers to buy 'smart metered' water heaters and making it cheaper for manufacturers to build energy-efficient cooling and heating systems."
This is what Scott Brown urged Senate Republicans to kill, in part because it was more important to deny a senator a victory than to do something sensible for the country.
Worse, his scheme worked -- when Democrats refused to meet a series of ridiculous GOP demands, Brown's former GOP colleagues killed the bipartisan, bicameral, uncontroversial bill with the latest in a series of filibusters.
The Brown campaign, now running in a different state, effectively acknowledged his role in lobbying against the bipartisan legislation, saying that the bill deserved to die unless Democrats agreed to add an unrelated amendment, requiring the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
For his part, Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) told reporters this morning, "[Scott Brown] was here two years and he seems still not to understand the legislative process. By killing the Shaheen bill, he also killed a vote on the pipeline. [Brown] seems to have a pattern of saying one thing publicly and doing something else internally, and it always seems to catch up with him."
Of course, this is hardly the only issue the former senator struggles to understand.