McConnell blocked in last-ditch effort to add ‘poison pill’ amendment to DADT repeal

We’ve known since last summer that Republicans wanted to offer a “poison pill” amendment to the DADT language. The long-expected amendment would add all the Service Chiefs to the certification process. Last night, Mitch McConnell tried — and failed:

A last-ditch effort by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to complicate the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was blocked Tuesday night after Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) objected, Senate aides said.

McConnell attempted to add an amendment to the so-called stripped-down defense authorization bill that would have required the consent of the military service chiefs to proceed with “don’t ask” repeal. Under legislation passed by the Senate last week, certifications are required from the president, the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. All the incumbents in those positions support repeal.

“It was a McConnell proposal,” a GOP aide confirmed. “There was an attempted to get unanimous consent for it to be included in the defense bill and someone objected.”

The haters never stop trying.




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McConnell, GOP Senators Hold DADT Repeal, Dem Initiatives Ransom in Letter to Harry Reid

All 42 GOP Senators have signed a letter from Mitch McConnellto House Majority Leader Harry Reid threatening to block all initiatives, including the Defense Authorization Act with DADT attached, until Republicans get their way on Bush tax cuts.

McconnellExcerpt from letter from GOP Senators to Harry Reid, via The Plum Line:

Dear Leader Reid,

The nation's unemployment level, stuck near 10 percent, is unacceptable to Americans. Senate Republicans have been urging Congress to make private-sector job creation a priority all year. President Obama in his first speech after the November election said "we owe" it to the American people to "focus on those issues that affect their jobs." He went on to say that Americans "want jobs to come back faster." Our constituents have repeatedly asked us to focus on creating an environment for private-sector job growth; it is time that our constituents' priorities become the Senate's priorities.

For that reason, we write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers. With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate's attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike.

****

We look forward to continuing to work with you in a constructive manner to keep the government operating and provide the nation's small businesses with economic certainty that the job-killing tax hike will be prevented.

However, Greg Sargent says that there's a good possibility that certain GOP Senators would abandon McConnell on this:

"Senator Susan Collins confirms to me that she could still vote for cloture for the Defense Authorization Bill containing repeal of DADT if ample time is alloted for floor debate and amendments…This wouldn't be the first time a tactic like this from McConnell has failed to maintain GOP unity, despite his threats to the contrary. On Wall Street reform, Dems were able to break the GOP filibuster despite McConnell's bluff…Someone should ask senators Richard Lugar, Olympia Snowe, and John Ensign whether they are willing to rule out a vote for DADT repeal if the Bush tax cut standoff isn't yet resolved. My bet is their answers might be surprising."


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McConnell: DADT is ‘controversial’ (but, that’s only because of GOPers)

Here’s video of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell talking about the Defense Authorization bill and DADT at his Capitol Hill presser today:

More from Kerry Eleveld, who was also at the press event:

McConnell, who spoke to reporters shortly before Reid, said the bill included several items that made the legislation “needlessly controversial,” including the repeal language and the DREAM Act.

“There are a number of elements in that bill that have nothing to do with defense,” he said, adding that the repeal provision allows “eliminating ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ without the study” from the Pentagon due out in December.

But he did not say one way or the other whether Republicans would filibuster the legislation.

“I can’t tell you right now how easy it will be to move forward with that bill,” he said.

When Reid was asked if he had the 60 votes to break the filibuster, he responded, “We’ll sure find out.”




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Reid calls McCain’s bluff. Will Brown and Collins vote for the bill again or cave to McConnell?

Earlier today, Servicemember United’s Alex Nicholson delivered a very strong message to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, which was sent via a post at The Hill. Based on what we learned this afternoon from Chris Johnson, it looks like Reid has stepped up. There will be a vote on the Defense Authorization bill, which includes the compromise DADT language.

The immediate hurdle is the filibuster promised by Senator John McCain. You may recall McCain’s temper tantrum on the Senate floor over DADT in July. He’s such a fraud.

In today’s post, Alex says the votes exist to overcome McCain’s filibuster:

Enough support for the bill currently exists to break a filibuster, so the attempts by Senator Reid’s office to blame Senator McCain for the delay falls flat. Senator McCain is the de facto leader of the those opposed repealing the DADT law, and he will surely try to impede progress on this bill. But the overwhelming majority of both Americans and U.S. senators oppose Senator McCain’s tactics, especially a filibuster, so there is simply no excuse for Senator Reid to delay a vote on NDAA any longer.

Delay happens now if the GOPers stick together to block the Defense bill.

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) already voted for DADT in the Senate Armed Services Committee. Scott Brown (R-MA) has stated publicly that he will not filibuster the Defense Authorization bill over DADT. Also, both Collins and Brown voted to pass the Defense bill out of committee (The Armed Services Committee press release is here. For some reason, that committee’s releases are pdfs)

We’ll see if these Collins and Brown cave to Mitch McConnell, which is what they usually do.

Virginia Democrat Jim Webb was the only Senator to oppose the DADT language in that committee. I can’t imagine Webb will filibuster this Defense bill over DADT.




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Dan Savage on Mitch McConnell taking Obama’s word that he’s a Christian

Yesterday, on Meet the Press, Mitch McConnell talked about Obama’s religion:

“The president says he’s a Christian. I take him at his word. I don’t think that’s in dispute,”

Dan Savage provides the only appropriate response.




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Mitch McConnell: let’s have hearing on 14th Amendment and ‘Birthright Citizenship’

It’s Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell leading the way on this BS. That alone requires examination for a host of reasons…

So instead of coming up with reality-based solutions regarding immigration reform, let’s have hearings on all sorts of things to stir up the Base. Should we take a look at the 2nd Amendment since “modern times” surely requires a different, discriminating eye than when “bear arms” meant a musket, not a stash of AK-47s?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) officially supports a review of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which grants children of undocumented immigrants status as U.S. citizens, his office confirmed to the Huffington Post on Monday.

…In offering his support, McConnell becomes the highest-ranking Republican figure to call for examining the reach of the 14th amendment. On Sunday, his chief deputy, Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.) told CBS’ Face the Nation that he too would back hearings into revising citizenship laws. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — a one-time proponent of comprehensive immigration reform — has explicitly called for the 14th Amendment’s repeal.

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