Sen. Franken Swearing-in Not Funny for GOP

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The swearing in of Democrat Al Franken of Minnesota is no laughing matter for Republicans.

The math is not funny. If you add the 58 Democrats plus the two Independents who typically vote with the Democrats, that gives them 60 votes. In the Senate, you can push through any piece of legislation with that number.

"It's hard to keep a coalition together, (to) actually have 60 senators banding together," ABC political director Rick Klein said. "This does mean in theory that Republicans are unable to stop any piece of legislation through a filibuster."

But there will be pitfalls ahead. In fact, Al Franken's first vote as senator was against the White House. The Administration wanted to get rid of $6 million in funding to protect buses from terrorists. They called it wasteful. Franken disagreed.

"A lot has been made of this number 60," Franken said. "The number I'm focused on is the number two. I see myself as the second senator from the state of Minnesota."

There are more problems on the horizon.

The Democratic party has a history of not sticking together as a block. This Senate may be no exception. Moderates like Sens. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., Mary Landrieu, D-La., Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and Mark Pryor, D-Ark., are not rubber stamp votes.

Then throw in party switcher Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., known for driving his former Republican party nuts. You also have Independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut who is not sold on a public option for health care and who has been a thorn in the side to Democrats on national security issues.

The president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will no doubt be in the business of arm twisting. The Democrat party is fully aware that the burden of responsibility rests with them.  They understand that now is their best shot to get major pieces of legislation, like health care and climate change passed.

If they don't, they may pay dearly. The Republican Senatorial Committee is already running ads putting pressure on the Democrats to deliver.

"No checks. No balances. They own everything and have no one to blame now. In 2010, you can hold them accountable. Vote Republican. 2010," one ad says.

Senate Democrats announced a deal on health care Wednesday in which hospitals would help pay for Obama's new plan.

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