Hoosiers Keep Pressure on Senator Lugar

This following comes from HRC Field Organizer Brian Griffin:

After last week’s failed vote on the National Defense Authorization Act, we here in Indiana did not let up. We continued the pressure on Senator Lugar to make sure he does the right thing by supporting the stand-alone bill introduced last week that would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” We joined Organizing for America in Indiana to phone bank for repeal. Constituents were connected to Senator Lugar’s voicemail to urge him to continue to support DADT repeal this year.

Yesterday, 20-year Army veteran Scott Spychala stopped into the Senator’s office in Indianapolis and dropped off over 350 letters, postcards and petition signatures gathered from all over the state. The letters and postcards came from students, veterans and supporters urging him to support the stand-alone bill.

Now that this bill has passed the House, we need more than ever to keep the pressure on the Senate. If you know a Hoosier or are a Hoosier, make sure to call Senator Lugar’s office and let him know you support repeal. He needs to hear from you now! Call his office and leave him a message at 202.224.4814. You can join us for stop-and-dial events all week long.  If you have an hour to give this week contact me at brian.griffin@hrc.org and let me know that you want to help repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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What exactly does ‘fair and open amendment process’ actually mean to Senators Collins and Lugar?

We keep hearing that some GOP Senators will support bringing the Defense Authorization bill to the floor. Via Kerry Eleveld’s report on the Senate Press conference yesterday:

I am confident that we have more than 60 votes prepared to take up the defense authorization with the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ if only there will be a guarantee of a fair and open amendment process, in other words, whether we’ll take enough time to do it,” Lieberman told reporters at a press conference, naming GOP senators Susan Collins and Richard Lugar as yes votes. “Time is an inexcusable reason not to get this done.”

Here’s my question: What exactly does “fair and open amendment process” mean to Senators Collins and Lugar? Are they going to tell us in advance — or will they keep moving the goal line (think Grassley and Snowe during the health care debate.) And, what happens when Mitch McConnell brings down the hammer on them? Let’s be clear: The Senate Republican leaders have already made their decision — they will filibuster the Defense bill over DADT. Will Collins, Lugar and the other allegedly pro-repeal GOPers cave, like they usually do, but offer some lame-ass procedural excuse?

One has to wonder if Lugar, Collins and other GOP Senators want to face the wrath of John McCain. He’s known for his extremely volatile temper and he’s become obsessed with blocking the DADT language from passing. Look at how quickly he got his wife to flip-flop on DADT after she told the world it’s one of the reasons gay kids are killing themselves.

We need a transparent process here. Obviously, this blog has been unabashed about holding Democrats accountable — and we will continue to do that. But, we need to know the specifics of what Collins and Lugar want the process to look like. Then, we can gauge if they’re playing fair, too.

And, I included this paragraph from the NY Times in the post below, but it bears repeating:

Leaders of the new House Republican majority have indicated that repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is not a priority for them, making it unlikely they would approve the bill again. That means if the repeal language is not approved by the end of this year, it will be effectively dead.

That’s right. And, it will be dead for a long time. This is our best shot. Those are the stakes. That is what Obama, Reid, Collins, Lieberman, Lugar and the rest need to remember.


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HRC in Indiana to Push Senator Lugar on Repeal

With elections all wrapped up, it is more important than ever to stay focused on the important work that the current Congress must still do. As the Senate reconvenes next week, they have the chance to take final action on the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011. Last year, Senator Lugar was one of a handful of Republicans who joined with the Democratic majority to vote for the NDAA which included the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Protection Act, and he has the chance to do the same this year with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” attached. Without Senate action this year, it would be the first time in nearly half a century that  Congress has failed to pass this critical legislation.

I touched down in the Hoosier state on Sunday afternoon and started running to keep up the support for repeal this year. After spending significant time out here earlier this year, and working to urge Senator Bayh to vote in favor of repeal in the Senate Armed Service Committee, it was easy to jump right back in and switch to pushing for Senator Lugar to do the same now, and to support repealing this discriminatory law.

We’ll be out here working to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by mobilizing our grassroots folk on the ground, as well as our veteran allies, to contact Senator Lugar and insist that he do the right thing. If you’d like to get involved and help repeal this discriminatory law, contact me at Adrian.Matanza@hrc.org.

Additionally, If you’re in the Bloomington area next week, join HRC and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network for a discussion with Major General Dennis J. Laich.

What: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: A Veteran’s Perspective

When: Thursday, November 18th, 2010, 12 noon

Where: Maurer School of Law, Room 123, IU Bloomington Bloomington, IN 47405

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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