Via Greg Sargent, news that passing the DADT language is possible, but it will take some commitment from the Majority Leader:
It’s widely assumed that the White House and Dems will punt on holding a vote on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell during the lame duck session because there aren’t 60 votes for it in the Senate to get it past a GOP filibuster. Senator Carl Levin, who heads the relevant committee, is talking about separating out DADT repeal from the Defense Authorization Bill for precisely this reason.
But very plugged in staffers who are actively involved in counting votes for Senators who favor repeal tell me it’s premature to conclude this — and that it could still get 60 votes in the Senate. These staffers tell me they’ve received private indications from a handful of moderate GOP Senators that they could vote for cloture on a Defense Authorization Bill with DADT repeal in it — if Dem leaders agree to hold a sustained debate on DADT on the Senate floor.
Here’s why this is important: It throws the ball back into the court of Senator Harry Reid and the White House. It means the onus is on them, mainly on Reid, to agree to a two-week Senate debate on the bill, including allowing amendments. Reid had previously tried to limite amendments, leading GOP moderates to balk. And Dem leaders may not want to allow this two week debate now, because time is short and it could prolong the session. But they should do it, because it’s the only real chance to get repeal done. And it could get done.
The GOP Senators who are in play, according to these staffers, are Richard Lugar, George Voinovich, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. A spokesman for Lugar, Mark Helmke, tells me that Lugar would vote for cloture if Reid staged “ordered debate on a number of issues in the bill.”
Our allies, from the White House to Capitol Hill, keep saying they want to pass the Defense bill with the DADT language intact. Okay, do it.
This means that Congress can’t go home on December 10th. Senators will may have to work right up til Christmas, you know, like most Americans do (and, unlike most Americans, those Senators can’t change their plane reservations without penalties and most don’t have to worry about finding a parking space at the airport.)
There are two other developments worth noting. Greg Sargent also reports:
Sources also tell me that senators Joe Lieberman, Mark Udall and Kirsten Gillibrand will hold a press conference tomorrow urging the Dem leadership to allow the final two-week debate, arguing that this still can happen. This is no small thing: They are urging their own party leadership to do this.
And, via Kerry Eleveld, according to the White House, the President and his staffers are making calls to Senators:
“Today, President Obama called Chairman [Carl] Levin to reiterate his commitment on keeping the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in the National Defense Authorization Act, and the need for the Senate to pass this legislation during the lame duck. The President’s call follows the outreach over the past week by the White House to dozens of Senators from both sides of the aisle on this issue.”
In the first few seconds of this video, when Stuart Shepard refers to the “different opinions” that public school kids typically hear about sexual orientation (while displaying a GLSEN graphic), Focus on the Family tells you all you need to know about its contents:
Okay, so why wait for spring? Let’s talk now:
(a) The research from ALL. CREDIBLE. BODIES. OF. SCIENCE. does not make up a mere “opinion.”
(b) Separation of church and state is not an “unsettled issue.”
(c) Anti-LGBT condemnation based on personal faith beliefs is not an equal, public school “viewpoint.”
(d) Despite the remarkable resemblance in phrasing and look, Candi Cushman is not apparently related to (the incidentally very pro-gay) Susan “Cindy Brady” Olsen:
(e) While working to foster a climate that perpetuates myths, smiles and genial tone are not enough to turn intolerance into “true tolerance.”
Gates: DADT repeal needs to happen before new Congress is seated
No sh*t, Bob. This is what the Secretary of Defenses said about the upcoming lame duke session.
“I would like to see the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ but I’m not sure what the prospects for that are. And we’ll just have to see.”
— to reporters aboard a U.S. military aircraft shortly before landing in Australia for annual bilateral talks.
He sure hasn’t been urgent about the matter until the whole political house of cards fell down last week, and of course the remote chance of passage makes it easy to say this now.
Unless the lame-duck Congress acts, the repeal effort is considered dead for now.
The current, Democratic-controlled Congress has not acted to lift the ban, which President Barack Obama promised to eliminate. In his postelection news conference Wednesday, Obama said there would be time to repeal the ban in December or early January, after the military completes a study of the effects of repeal on the front lines and at home.
With Republicans taking control of the House in January, and with larger margins in the Senate, supporters of lifting the ban predict it will be much more difficult.
Meanwhile, there wasn’t any comment from the President; he was hard at work abroad…
Looking at the states in question, perhaps we should not be surprised, but seriously, how is this a good idea ANYWHERE in this gun-loving, hair-trigger temper, liquored-up society? (NYT):
Happy-hour beers were going for at Past Perfect, a cavernous bar just off this city’s strip of honky-tonks and tourist shops when Adam Ringenberg walked in with a loaded 9-millimeter pistol in the front pocket of his gray slacks.
Mr. Ringenberg, a technology consultant, is one of the state’s nearly 300,000 handgun permit holders who have recently seen their rights greatly expanded by a new law – one of the nation’s first – that allows them to carry loaded firearms into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.
…The new measures in Tennessee and the three other states come after two landmark Supreme Court rulings that citizens have an individual right – not just in connection with a well-regulated militia – to keep a loaded handgun for home defense.
…State Representative Curry Todd, a Republican who first introduced the guns-in-bars bill here, said that carrying a gun inside a tavern was never the law’s primary intention. Rather, he said, the law lets people defend themselves while walking to and from restaurants.
The purported mitigating factor here is the gun-toter cannot drink alcohol in the establishment. If these laws are challenged in states with big urban city centers and gun restrictions fall by the wayside, you can imagine the chaos that will ensue. Pam’s House Blend – Front Page