By Alexander Bolton and Jordan Fabian - 02/03/10 08:12 PM EST
Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R), the successor to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), will be sworn in to office Thursday afternoon, giving Republicans 41 seats in the upper chamber.
"Once we get his certificate, we expect to swear him in tomorrow afternoon as early as 5 o'clock, which is earlier than he suggested," said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), in an interview Wednesday.
Brown's entry into the Senate marks the formal end of the Democrats' filibuster-proof Senate majority.
Brown asked top Massachusetts officials Wednesday to take
action that would allow him to be seated this Thursday instead of next
Brown's legal counsel wrote Gov. Deval Patrick (D) and Secretary of State William Galvin asking them to certify the election results immediately, which would allow him to be sworn in to the U.S. Senate as early as Thursday.
"While Sen.-elect Brown had tentatively planned to be sworn in to office
Feb. 11, he has been advised that there are a number of votes
scheduled prior to that date," his attorneys wrote. "For that reason,
he wants certification to occur immediately."
President Barack Obama reminded Democratic senators at a retreat Wednesday that they still control the largest majority in a generation.
Brown had told reporters that he originally expected to be sworn in last week.
Brown has asked for a seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
This story was updated at 4:25 p.m.