The Senate will not vote tonight on the Defense spending bill that includes a repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.” Majority Leader Harry Reid postponed the previously scheduled vote after Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins said she’s not ready to proceed on the bill. Collins is one of the key Republican votes needed to overcome a filibuster. Talking Points Memo reports:
Late this evening, per Collins’ request, Reid delayed a test vote he’d planned to hold tonight.
“Everyone on the Republican side wants to see the tax package completed first,” Collins said.
Collins reminded Reid that Republicans don’t want to debate anything until the tax issue is resolved. “I have urged the majority leader to postpone the vote…so that we could get the tax bill considered first — which I believe could be on the floor tomorrow — and completed by Saturday, and then move immediately to the DOD bill, but under a fair agreement.”
Though Reid has backpedaled somewhat, he still plans to hold a vote later this week. Collins warns that any test vote before the tax cut issue is resolved will fail, even if he agrees to her terms.
“If we’re in the same situation that we are now, I don’t see how I could vote for it. But I’m obviously going to think further. But frankly they won’t get to 60 votes even if I did vote for it. So why not take the path that would lead to 60 votes”
The Washington Blade reports that the vote could come at any time on Thursday:
Jim Manley, a Reid spokesperson, said the decision to hold off on the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill was made to allow for further discussions on the legislation.
“There’s a sense that we’re getting closer to working out an agreement,” Manley said. “Instead of having a vote tonight, we’ve temporarily postponed it until tomorrow as we try and see if we can reach an agreement.”
Pro-repeal groups are continuing to ask people to contact Senators and urge them to support repeal. To take action, go here.