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Could “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Vote Get Held Up Until After Midterms?

by David Badash on September 20, 2010

in Civil Rights,Legislation,News

Post image for Could “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Vote Get Held Up Until After Midterms?

Despite all the momentum over the past few weeks (not to mention the huge focus this year!) is it possible that the vote to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” may not take place tomorrow as scheduled, and may be held up until after the November midterms?

The vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — which includes the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — is currently scheduled for 2:15 PM Tuesday, and according to reliable sources, such as The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld, is still happening tomorrow.

Yet, TPM writes today that debate on the “Bush tax cuts” may get in the way. A “Democratic aide” “confirmed to TPM what’s been rumored, that Reid is highly likely to set aside the defense bill and postpone a final vote until after the election.”

But Servicemembers United — a leading DADT repeal organization — is suggesting the tax cuts are not so much getting in the way, as providing cover for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, given the so-called “unusual and controversial” “stunts” Reid is creating, according to S.U.’s Executive Director Alexander Nicholson. In The Hill, Nicholson writes,

“Service members and veterans are quite accustomed to being used as political footballs, and the practice needs to stop. It likely will not, so it at least needs to be called out when it occurs.”

“Just over 60 votes had been lined up to break a filibuster on NDAA and allow the legislation to move forward for debate, amendments, and a final vote before the Senate adjourns for yet another month-and-a-half-long recess. That was until Senator Reid announced that he was going to use his status as Senate Majority Leader to block the minority’s customary ability to also offer their amendments to the massive annual defense spending bill.”

And Nicholson makes this promise:

“If NDAA fails this week because of cheap political stunts, we will ensure that it is the Senate leadership that is held accountable, not the unreasonably slighted minority.”

Senator John McCain has vowed to fight repeal, but, as The Blade details today,

“GOP moderates in the U.S. Senate are seeking concessions from Democratic leadership in exchange for breaking with the Republican caucus and voting for cloture on Tuesday on major defense legislation containing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, according to Capitol Hill sources.

“One Republican source said among those seeking concessions from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine, Scott Brown (R-Mass.), George Voinovoich (R-Ohio) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.).”

“Another Republican source said Democratic leadership intends to attach the DREAM Act to the defense authorization bill as part of a manager’s amendment that also has language related to other defense items.”

It’s unclear if the GOP is pulling strings to get “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal stalled in an effort to make Reid look bad during a neck-and-neck election, or if Reid is trying to use repeal to make himself look more appealing to his state’s right-wing voters. Or if this is all, um, muckraking…

What is clear is this:

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.

The President of the United States has called for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

80% of Americans want “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repealed.

It seems the only ones who don’t want repeal to move forward are old Republican males.

And their day has come and gone.

Hasn’t it?

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