Why is Paul Kirk Still Voting on Legislation?

Last night I was wondering what was holding up Scott Brown’s swearing in. I did a few searches and couldn’t find much information about the delay except that he’s expected to be sworn in on February 11th. Didn’t we keep hearing that it would take around 10 days to certify an election? Ten days is today, so what’s the hold up?

It is ridiculous to begin that Brown has not yet been sworn in but it’s even worse that Paul Kirk is still voting on legislation, which he should not be doing, as SusanAnne Hiller correctly points out:

The Senate has voted on three pieces of legislation today that required 60 votes-to raise the debt ceiling to $14.3 trillion, to reduce the deficit by establishing five-year discretionary spending caps, and Ben Bernanke’s confirmation-all of which interim Senator Paul Kirk (D-MA) has voted on. In addition, there have been other Senate votes since Scott Brown was elected as Massachusetts senator that Kirk cast a vote.

The main question here is: why is former Senator Kirk still voting on these legislative pieces? According to Senate rules and precedent, Kirk’s term expired last Tuesday upon the election of Scott Brown. Furthermore, Massachusetts law can be interpreted, according to GOP lawyers, as:

Based on Massachusetts law, Senate precedent, and the U.S. Constitution, Republican attorneys said Kirk will no longer be a senator after election day, period. Brown meets the age, citizenship, and residency requirements in the Constitution to qualify for the Senate. “Qualification” does not require state “certification,” the lawyers said.

The Republican leadership is absent in all this. Why? This is a flagrant violation of Senate rules, yet they say nothing. Meanwhile Kirk votes on legislation that has wide ranging impact on the American taxpayers.

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