There won't be any more healthcare votes in the Senate until its newest member, Scott Brown (R-Mass.), can be sworn in, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday.
McConnell said that the 39 Republicans would count on Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), who said the Senate should halt health votes until Brown can be sworn in, to forestall any votes in the coming days.
"What it means is there will be no health care votes in the Senate until Brown is sworn in, because they have no margin for error," McConnell said during an appearance on Fox News. "And here is one Democratic senator from the state of Virginia who said, 'I'm not going to participate in any more health care votes until Senator Scott Brown is sworn in.'"
It's not clear how long it will take for Brown to be seated. Massachusetts law typically takes 10 days to certify an election, and McConnell's Democratic counterpart, Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), has said the new senator would be seated "as soon as the proper paperwork has been received."
The now-stalled health bill (which appears to extend to some members of the House) faces an uncertain future in Congress, especially as the GOP makes the case that the Massachusetts win was a rebuke for Democrats' health reform efforts.
"I think the message of the moment is that the American people, all across the country, are asking us, even in the most liberal state, Massachusetts, to stop this healthcare bill," McConnell said.
Democrats, including the Obama administration for its part, has said that the GOP victory in normally-Democratic Massachusetts was about much broader frustration with the economy and other issues.