Disappointing to say the least:
The Senate on Thursday dealt a severe blow to the repeal of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” law, dimming the chances for the Clinton-era ban to be scrapped this year.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) failed to garner the necessary 60 votes for a procedural motion to start considering the 2011 defense authorization bill, which contains a provision to repeal the ban on openly gay people serving in the military. The final vote was 57-40.
Apparently Reid felt he had to act and couldn’t cave to Collins:
Reid concluded that even if Collins was sincere in her promise to vote for repeal if given the four days of debate, there was no way to prevent the proceedings from taking longer, the aide says. Reid decided that the cloture vote, the 30 hours of required post-cloture debate, and procedural tricks mounted by conservative Senators who adamantly oppose repeal would have dragged the process on far longer.
“It would have been much more than four days,” the aide says. “Her suggestions were flat out unworkable given how the Senate really operates. You can talk about four days until the cows come home. That has very little meaning for Coburn and DeMint and others who have become very skilled at grinding this place to a halt.”
After spending several hours thinking it over today and consulting with other members of the Dem caucus, Reid decided to push forward with the vote today, the aide says.
I’m with Reid:
Some critics will point out that Reid decided he could pass on granting Republicans the extended floor debate they wanted and then shift the blame for killing repeal onto GOP obstructionism. After all, Collins did appear to want to vote for repeal, and her demands weren’t all that unreasonable by historical standards. But the counterargument is that it would have been folly for Reid to trust other GOP moderates to vote Yes. After all, they (and Collins) had signed a letter vowing to block everything if the tax cut standoff wasn’t resolved first.
Indeed, moderate GOPers like Scott Brown and Lisa Murkowsk, who had said they supported repeal, voted No. Also, Reid couldn’t be certain conservative Senators wouldn’t use the proceedings to foul up the Senate, with time running out on other major priorities.
This evening, moments after the Senate failed to invoke cloture and proceed to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — the measure which contains the amendment to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) announced that they would offer a stand-alone DADT measure. Lieberman also said that he has a commitment from Reid to bring up the bill before the end of the year.
When all is said and done DADT is going down. I’ll be crediting Reid for pushing. I’ll be reading up… and posting again tonight. Please point me to anything you think I should be reading in Distrcit TMV.
UPDATE – Roll Call:
Democrats Voting No
Republicans Voting Yes
Independents Voting Yes
“A minority of Senators were willing to block this important legislation largely because they oppose the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ As Commander in Chief, I have pledged to repeal this discriminatory law, a step supported by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and informed by a comprehensive study that shows overwhelming majorities of our armed forces are prepared to serve with Americans who are openly gay or lesbian. A great majority of the American people agree. This law weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness, integrity and equality.
“I want to thank Majority Leader Reid, Armed Services Committee Chairman Levin, and Senators Lieberman and Collins for all the work they have done on this bill. While today’s vote was disappointing, it must not be the end of our efforts. I urge the Senate to revisit these important issues during the lame duck session.”
The full statement is rather scathing.