He can bolster Republicans. And bring Democrats' efforts to approve a health care reform bill to a screeching halt.
Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-MA) arrived on Capitol Hill Thursday for the first time since his election to succeed the late Ted Kennedy in the Senate. And even though Brown had no meetings planned on the House side of the Capitol, his epic victory Tuesday jolted the political tectonics of the lower body.
"Where do we go from here?" asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rhetorically about what Brown's win meant for the health care reform bill, now deprived of 60 votes to block a Republican filibuster.
"Let me congratulate the new senator from Massachusetts," said Pelosi. But the Speaker added a caveat.
"It has not diminished the need for health care," she said.
However, Pelosi conceded that Brown's win had consequences for the health reform effort.
"The message from Massachusetts is one we've been hearing for a while," the Speaker said.
Pelosi described Brown's upset as "a total surprise for everyone."
Still, she cautioned that having a 60-vote super-majority in the Senate was a luxury in lugging through the health care reform bill.
"We always thought 'what if? What are out options?'" Pelosi said. "Of course we would have preferred to win."
Meantime, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) suggested that Democrats were tone-deaf by not learning a lesson from Brown's win. Boehner indicated that Brown's election was a referendum on the health care reform bill and Democrats would be better served by scrapping the effort.
"It sounds like the Speaker and the Democrats plan to ignore what happened in Massachusetts," Boehner said. "They're still scheming and scamming (to pass the legislation)."
Boehner also said that Brown's victory meant the health bill was already six-feet under.
"This bill is dead," Boehner said
Boehner mocked Democrats by holding up a Congressional Quarterly headline that said that House Democrats "Look to Finesse Their Message."
"My God," said Boehner. "They think the problem is their message?"