Approaching next week’s vote on the Defense bill: Where the votes are — or should be

Posted on 14 Sep 2010 at 10:44am

Kerry Eleveld spoke to Servicemember United’s Alex Nicholson about the upcoming vote on the Defense Authorization — looking at where the votes are. It’s expected that John McCain will continue to filibuster the Defense Authorization legislation.
Majority Leader Harry Reid will file cloture on Thursday, meaning there will be a key vote early next week to end the filibuster — probably on Tuesday. The big question is whether the rest of the GOP caucus will join with McCain. Nicholson provided some intel:

Although some Democratic senators, such as Jim Webb of Virginia, might break with their party and support the filibuster, some Republican senators could help compensate for the deficit.

Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana has already indicated he would not support a filibuster; Sen. Susan Collins of Maine voted for the repeal measure in the Senate Armed Services Committee and is a good candidate to also break with her party. Other GOP senators who might vote to break the filibuster include Olympia Snowe of Maine and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire.

Nicholson noted that no Democratic senator has given a strong indication to date that he or she would join a Republican filibuster.

What’s less clear is what might happen if the bill reaches the Senate floor, where amendments might be offered to strike the repeal language or to expand the terms of the certification process beyond the president, Defense secretary, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs to also include the service chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Either measure would require 51 votes to pass.

But Nicholson said there’s still an element of the unknown in any calculation at this point.

“A lot of the vote estimations really come from pre-recess intelligence,” he said, noting that senators just returned to Washington Monday. “I don’t think any organization has gotten a feel for how the August recess has impacted members positions on this issue.”

As I mentioned yesterday, Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) also announced he won’t filibuster the Defense bill over DADT. And, he voted for the Defense Authorization bill in Committee.

The best thing to do: Call your Senators. Both of them: 202-224-3121.




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