Expect Senate vote on Defense Authorization at around noon tomorrow

The Senate’s orders for Thursday:

∙The Senate will convene at 9:30am and proceed to consideration of the motion to proceed to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2010 (S.3992), with ten minutes reserved for Senator Durbin, and the remaining time until 11:00am equally divided and controlled between the two Leaders, or their designees.

∙At 11:00am, the Senate will proceed to a series of up to three roll call votes on the following:

o The motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2010 (S.3992).

o The motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 (H.R.847).

o Reconsideration of the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (S.3454).

The key players have until noon tomorrow to figure out how to make this work. I just hope everyone is operating in good faith — and I do worry whether Mitch McConnell is even going to let Susan Collins cut a deal. He runs a tight ship.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

WH and Reid: Defense Authorization bill with DADT language will move to Senate floor in lame duck

I’m just going to post this entire joint press release from SLDN, HRC and CAPAF:

Key Senate leadership and Administration officials this evening met with representatives of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), and the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF). The officials told the groups that Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama are committed to moving forward on repeal by bringing the National Defense Authorization Act – the bill to which “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal is attached – to the floor in the lame duck session after the Thanksgiving recess. Further the Majority Leader and the President made clear their opposition to removing the DADT provision from the NDAA. Information on the exact timing and procedural conditions will be announced by the Majority Leader’s office.

Present at the meeting with representatives from HRC, SLDN and CAPAF were: Jim Messina, Deputy White House Chief of Staff; Phil Schiliro, White House Director of Legislative Affairs; Chris Kang, Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; Brian Bond, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement; David Krone, Chief of Staff to Majority Leader Reid; and Serena Hoy, Senior Counsel to Majority Leader Reid.

Interesting that the White House and Reid’s office were willing to name the participants of the meeting. Apparently, this is supposed to signal that they’re all really engaged. Better late then never, I guess.

Let’s not get too excited. This is just one step forward. There are still many hurdles to get over. The President, the Majority Leader and all of these meeting participants have a lot of work to do to make sure the bill get to the Senate floor — and passes.

The key to success lies in “the exact timing and procedural conditions.” We keep hearing that the Senate wants to go adjourn on December 10th. That can’t happen if this effort is going to succeed.

Greg Sargent is right: Action on DADT “could still happen, if the Dem leadership tries to make it happen.”




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Sen. Levin admits he may remove DADT from Defense Authorization

The Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin, carries significant sway over what happens to the Defense Authorization bill. About 10 days ago, we heard rumblings that Levin was negotiating with McCain about removing the DADT language from the Defense Authorization bill. Today, Levin acknowledged it. So this wasn’t background noise after all:

The measure to repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the military may have to be dropped from the defense authorization bill in order to get the bill passed this year, said Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin (D-MI).

“I’m trying to get the bill through Congress. I’m the committee chairman for a 900 page bill. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is two pages of 900 pages. My focus is different from the media focus. I’m just trying to get a bill passed,” Levin told reporters at the Capitol building on Tuesday.

While no final decisions have been made, Levin said one option was to separate the language on repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” from the rest of the bill, and then making two separate efforts to pass the both pieces of legislation.

“I’m trying to get both done. And if I can’t get both done, I want to get one of them done,” Levin said.

The one he really wants to get done is the Defense Authorization bill. This is not good. Not good at all. As Senator Udall told Kerry Eleveld:

I do think the best way to move this forward is in the NDAA and I do worry that if we don’t formalize the repeal process in statute now that we may not have this opportunity for a number of years in the future.

Removing the DADT language from the legislation is almost certain to kill it. There’s just not enough time left for the Senate to act. And, it probably didn’t help that there was an article in today’s Washington Post titled, “‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ splitting gay rights groups.” Thanks for nothing, Palm Center.

Promises have been made, repeatedly. Promises have not been kept. On October 27th, the President said “there is a strategy” on DADT:

SUDBAY: Is there a strategy for the lame-duck session to –

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

SUDBAY: — and you’re going to be involved?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

SUDBAY: Will Secretary Gates be involved?

THE PRESIDENT: I’m not going to tip my hand now. But there is a strategy.

I thought Obama understood that I meant I was asking if there is a strategy to pass the DADT language. Because, we haven’t seen anything close to that emerging. Time is running out. Earlier today, Atrios tweeted:

DADT has been one of those ‘shut up and trust us’ issues. so outcome will be revealing

It sure will be.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

SU explains the path forward on Defense Authorization and DADT

Alex Nicholson explains the process and the players if the DADT language is going to pass “this year”:




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Votes aren’t there to stop filibuster of Defense Authorization. Where are Collins and Brown?

Kerry Eleveld just tweeted:

Both Lieberman/Levin say filibuster is biggest hurdle to NDAA. Lieberman: “I don’t think the votes are there.” #dadt

If the votes aren’t there, it means all the GOPers are going to vote to keep filibustering the Defense Authorization legislation next week.

In the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 27th, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Scott Brown (R-MA) voted for the Defense Authorization bill. The Armed Services Committee press release, with the roll call vote, is here. (It’s a pdf.) But, here’s the roll call on final passage in Committee:

Collins voted for the DADT amendment in the Senate Armed Services Committee. And, Brown has said publicly that he will not filibuster the Defense Authorization bill over DADT.

Are Collins, Brown and the Republicans really going to put politics over support for the troops? The Defense Authorization bill is all about taking care of our troops, including pay raises and support. No matter how the Senate Republicans spin this, their filibuster is really based on homophobia and discrimination. That’s what Collins and Brown — and Snowe, Lugar, Voinovich — will be embracing. They need to stop playing procedural games with people’s lives.

We’ll see if Collins and Brown surrender the soldiers and their constituents to Mitch McConnell. That’s what they usually do.

Call your Senators, especially if you live in Maine or Massachusetts. The Senate switchboard is 202-224-3121.

And, check out this call to Brown’s office, courtesy of Lady Gaga. Brown’s staffer told the caller that he opposes DADT:




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright