The Senate should suspend votes until Senator-elect Scott Brown (R-Mass.) can be seated, one of his new Democratic colleagues said Tuesday.
Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) said the upper chamber shouldn't move forward with healthcare or any other bills until Brown is sworn in.
"In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process," Webb said in a statement. "To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated."
The statement from the centrist Webb is a warning shot to Democratic leaders who are now forced to confront how to move forward with health reform efforts and other top priorities in the wake of Brown's victory. Republicans now control 41 votes in the Senate, meaning they will have enough votes to sustain a filibuster if they all stick together.
The issue is critically important to healthcare, as well. Some lawmakers had talked about rushing to finish their health reform efforts before Brown could be seated, which could take as long as 10 to 15 days under Massachusetts law.
It's not clear how Webb's statement affects that; the senator gave no indication as to whether or not he'd join with the GOP to stop movement on legislation until Brown's seated, if push comes to shove.