September 21, 2010
(Cross-posted from LGBTPOV)
UPDATED at 2:25 PT: MSNBC just corrected itself to say the vote will be at 2:30 ET again. But that may change, of course. Stay tuned. — Eden
by Karen Ocamb
This is it. (Updated) Senators just adjourned after debating on whether to proceed to debate on the National Defense Authorization Act which contains language to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. You can watch on C-SPAN2. Bottom line: Democratic Sen. Carl Levin wants to break the filibuster through the cloture vote coming up at UPDATE 3:30ET, 12:30 Pacific to get to full and open debate on the bill, including the introduction of amendments, as Majority Leader Harry Reid promised last week when he limited debate to only three amendments – as I previously posted in the overview. But, he says, “we need to get to the bill in order to debate” the many expected amendments.
Republican Sen. John McCain says no vote should be taken on repealing DADT until after the Pentagon’s survey on how the troops and their families feel about the repeal is completed on Dec. 1. He says voting on it now is “jamming” it through before the Nov. 2 election so President Obama can keep his promise to the gay lobby. McCain stressed how the four joint chiefs of staff oppose changing the legislation until after the survey is complete. McCain is stunned that only the President, Secretary of Defense Gates and the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen – and not the four joint chiefs – are allowed to “certify” the results of the survey before any repeal is possible.
In response to McCain, Levin quoted from Mullen’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee where he said that repealing DADT was “the right thing to do.” Mullen is the BOSS of the joints chiefs – so who wins this vote may also impact his future, too. Gates has already announced he is leaving soon.
The Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson will be tweeting during the vote, @cjagenda. He also has an updated story of where the situation stands right now: “Doubts persist as today’s ‘Don’t Ask’ cloture vote approaches”
UPDATE: HERE’S A QUICK TAKE FROM SERVICEMEMBER LEGAL DEFENSE NETWORK’S TOM CARPENTER:
Here is where we are. The Republican moderates are angry with Senator Reid because he has limited their side to 3 amendments. They want to be able to offer as many as they want. Reid places the limitation so that he can manage the bill. To quote Lindsey Graham “Elections have consequences.” The conservative Republicans are arguing that we need to wait for the Pentagon report and voting on the NDAA shows disrespect for our troops. They also are arguing that Reid has added an irrelevant amendment with the Dream Act. This happens all the time in the Senate and even McCain has done the same thing in the past. For instance, he added campaign finance, to a NDAA many years ago. Just a smoke screen. Both DADT and the Dream Act are relevant. The Dream Act allows for a path to citizenship by serving in the military.
Not sure where the count is at this time. Looks like Snowe, Collins and Brown will not vote for cloture.
Here’s SLDN’s list of the Senators who may still be moved before the vote, followed by an excerpt from Mullen’s testimony.
UPDATED LIST: KEY SENATORS UNCOMMITTED ON BREAKING THE FILIBUSTER:
–George Lemieux (R-FL);
–Susan Collins (R-ME);
–Olympia Snowe (R-ME);
–Mark Pryor (D-Ark.);
–Richard Lugar (R-IN);
–Judd Gregg (R-NH);
–Jim Webb (D-VA);
–George Voinovich (R-OH);
–Kit Bond (R-MO);
TAKE ACTION NOW: http://bit.ly/bdYE3Z
Call both your senators at the Capitol switchboard right now and urge them to vote to end the filibuster and move on to a real debate on the Defense bill. No spin. No more delays. This should be a bipartisan vote. (202) 224-3121
UPDATE BY EDEN: Please use this as an open thread to discuss the vote as it happens.