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Thursday, December 09, 2010

BREAKING: DADT Senate Cloture Vote Fails 57-40

The Senate, led by Democrat Harry Reid has taken up a vote on the Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal legislation and it has failed.

Recently negotiations were in the works between Reid and Republican lawmakers that are in favor of the bill, but had procedural objections with the way Harry Reid was handling the vote by way of amendments and debate by not allowing an open and fair process.

The final vote was 57-40 (Roll call will be found at this URL in approximately one hour)

Description: Upon Reconsideration, Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S. 3454; National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011

Result: Rejected.

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.


Mr. Reid’s decision to move forward caught senators off guard, including Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who had been negotiating with Mr. Reid about the terms of the debate.

In an impassioned, impromptu speech, Ms. Collins complained that she wanted to vote in favor of the bill but could not do so without an agreement on the process first.

It was predicted that Reid would fail to obtain enough votes for cloture and it looks like those predictions were correct.

A last-ditch effort in Congress to lift the military's ban on openly gay troops appears to be headed for defeat.

Senate Democrats have apparently failed to cinch a procedural deal with Republicans in the waning days of the lame-duck session. A procedural vote in the Senate is expected to fall short of the goal of advancing the measure.

A 'no' vote would end months of political wrangling on the bill and kill the chance of congressional action on the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy any time soon.

Both Murkowski and Collins, both Republicans that would have voted for this measure and had stated the process must be open and fair, but Reid went ahead anyway, dooming the DADT repeal and fully knowing he was doing so.

"I have never been more confident that we have at least 60 votes for the Defense Authorization bill with a repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' in it. The only condition is that Republicans want to make sure that there is a fair process for amending the bill," Lieberman said Wednesday.

"I will really appeal to Sen. Reid not to bring the defense bill with the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' to a vote because that would be doing it before we know that the votes we have are there. That's my fear: that we're not giving the bill and the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' a fighting chance to pass. All it requires is a process agreement because on the substance, I repeat, 60 votes are certain and maybe one or two more."
I will update as reactions and other news links come out.

[Update] MSNBC:

Ultimately, Majority Leader Harry Reid called for the vote without having reached a procedural agreement with moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who supports repeal but wanted greater openness for the process of amending and passing the bill. Collins voted aye on the measure, but other Republicans who support repeal but had voiced similar procedural concerns -- Sens. Scott Brown and Lisa Murkowski -- voted no.

One Democrat, newly-elected Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, broke with his party to vote no.

Collins states on the Senate floor:

Reid went out of his way to praise Collins for trying to reach an arrangement that would have paved the way for Democrats to win the 60 votes they need to advance the measure containing the DADT language. “She’s tried,” Reid said.

Collins said on the Senate floor that she was “perplexed and frustrated” that the bill would fall victim to “politics.”

“I just do not understand why we can't proceed on a path... that will allow us to get the 60 votes to proceed,” she said.