Kerry Eleveld reports at the Advocate that unless the Senate acts on DADT before the midterms, proponents fear its repeal will be delayed by a year or more. Activists are pushing Sen. Harry Reid to schedule a September vote on the defense funding bill to which the compromise DADT repeal is attached.
“I’m a little anxious,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. “The reality is the number of legislative days in this Congress are rapidly dwindling, and we need to see that the defense authorization bill up on the Senate floor in September.” When Congress returns to Washington next week, the Senate will have until October 8 when they leave for the midterms to take the crucial vote on the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, which contains the provision to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
But one political operative and repeal advocate noted the bill will be competing for attention with new legislation Democrats are pushing that would provide tax breaks for businesses. “The Democrats are trying to figure out what they can effectively do in those four weeks to distinguish themselves from Republicans before the midterm elections,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “The tax cut issue may provide that contrast.”
The source wagered that if the Senate floor vote does not take place before the midterms, the defense funding bill would have a “50-50” shot of passing before the end of this Congress. If it is not finalized by year’s end, the repeal effort will die. Reid’s spokesman, reiterating statements he made last month, told The Advocate the defense authorization bill stood a chance of being addressed upon lawmakers’ return next week. “It’s on the list of things we would like to do in the next few weeks,” said Jim Manley.
NOTE: The above photo was taken at Netroots Nation by Pam Spaulding after Lt. Dan Choi bounded on to the stage to shake Reid’s hand and hear his promise to repeal DADT.