It didn't take long for Sen. Arlen Specter to let his new colleagues in the Democratic Party know that his vote won't be taken for granted.
A day after abandoning the Republican Party for the Democrats, saying the latter better represented his political philosophy, Specter voted against President Obama's budget -- which he and other Democrats have described as a manifestation of the party's political philosophy.
Specter was greeted warmly by his new fellow party members on his way into the chamber.
"Welcome," said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), extending his hand when he saw Specter exit the elevator.
Specter was joined in his opposition to the president by the entire GOP. Not a single Senate Republican voted to support the budget. Sen. Ben Nelson, a conservative Democrat from Nebraska, also voted no. It passed 53-43.
Ryan Grim is the author of the forthcoming book This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America