Looks like Susan Collins will stymie at least for today efforts to end the ban on open gay military service.
A pretty good discussion here of the risks Republicans run in blocking a defense spending bill. Is narrow ideology, no longer supported by the majority of Americans, enough to put the war effort in jeopardy.
The vote to end the filibuster failed 56-43, with 60 needed.
Arkansas Sens. Pryor and Lincoln sided with Republicans to block the vote. Shame on them. Truly, what difference does it make if either one is defeated?
UPDATE II: Sen. Lincoln has released a statement in which she said she favored DADT repeal and supported the Dream Act, which she has sponsored. She said she joined the filibuster because she didn't like the process used in calling up the vote, particularly that it precluded votes on her own amendments to provide benefits for military reservists. Pryor, too, issued a mealy-mouthed statement that said he objected to debating the defense bill because it had become a political football. Thanks, he should have said, to unprecedented votes by every Republican and the two senators from Arkansas. Yes, Sen. Pryor, voters are tired of "games" particularly those that deny the rights of citizenship to a group of people you want to subject to discrimination. What an empty suit.
And ... good for Al Franken
Washington — U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) released the following statement on the procedural vote on the National Defense Authorization Act that occurred this afternoon:
“I think the stalemate we find ourselves in today is an example of Congress’ failure to appropriately deal with issues of critical importance to Arkansans and the American people, and that is why people are so angry.
“Both political parties are too focused on how they can embarrass one another and we are no longer doing what our constituents expect us to do — work together to find common ground and move our nation forward.
“Today, I filed eight amendments to improve services and benefits for Arkansas’s veterans, Guardsman and Reservists. But, under the process and time-frame established by this motion, none of my amendments would have merited consideration this week.
“I have heard my constituents loud and clear, and I will continue working to ensure that we do things in an open and transparent way. I opposed the Motion to Proceed because we all need to listen to our constituents and provide time to fully debate and consider the issues they care about.
“In late July, I was able to gain unanimous support for the most ambitious Child Nutrition Authorization Bill in the history of our country. It didn’t require a procedural motion. It was bipartisan, paid for and reflected the best of what this Senate can be. I hope that process becomes the norm.”
“I am a cosponsor of the DREAM Act, and have stated that I will support the Lieberman compromise, which would repeal the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy when our military commanders say it is appropriate for our military readiness and national security. However, these important issues were taken hostage today to an election year political agenda at the expense of full and open debate on a $726 billion defense spending bill.
“I believe there many important issues in this critical bill that deserve our full attention. When we are ready to get serious about debating the multitude of issues that are relevant to this bill, I am prepared to help move that debate and this legislation forward.”
MARK PRYOR STATEMENT
Arkansans are tired of the games being played in Washington, and so am I. This bill deserves serious debate focused on what is best for our national security and our troops. Instead, it became a political football and because of that, I voted not to proceed with the bill. There needs to be a genuine and honest effort to craft a defense bill that senators from both parties can support, because supporting our troops should not ever be a partisan issue.