Sen. Harry Reid has called a cloture vote on repeal of the ban on gay military service. It is expected to fail. And this reading indicates that this likely means the end of repeal this session — and maybe for years. Sen. Susan Collins does it again. With friends like these, gay people don't need enemies.
Party of No prevails again.
UPDATE: A vote to end filibuster failed. Sen. Susan Collins, despite my earlier comment, was the only Republican to join 56 Democrats in voting to end debate. Though she did right, she knew the vote would fail and blamed it on Democrats' handling of process. The Party of No prevailed and likely would have prevailed no matter how many amendments they'd have been allowed to introduce. One Democrat, Manchin of West Virginia, joined the Republicans, a critical swap that made Collins' vote meaningless. Blanche Lincoln did not vote, same as a no. Passage always depended on several Republicans who'd said they favored the measure. Talk is cheap. Equality is hard won for some people.
Lincoln didn't arrive in time to vote because of a doctor's appointment. She said she would have voted to end the filibuster. That's what she said shortly before she supported an earlier Republican filibuster on DADT, so who knows?
The Human Rights Campaign, recognizing the hostility that Republicans bring to the issue in the next Congress, has called on the president to issue a stop discharge order under DADT and to stop opposing the court fight to overturn the law as unconstitutional. This is a recognition of the bleak congressional playing field. A sad day.
Collins and Joe Lieberman and Harry Reid say they will offer a stand-alone measure on repeal for a Senate vote and think there are sufficient votes to pass it. But that presumes Republicans don't try to amend it to death with crippling, divisive amendments and filibuster every procedural vote. Further reporting on this last-gasp effort.
Read here some more on Manchin's trickery and how Collins' demands more or less made this loss inevitable. Read hear a sneer at Lincoln for missing a key vote for a dentist appointment. Would successor John Boozman let a cavity stop a vote bashing gays? You know the answer to that.
A statement from Lincoln's office:
Senator Lincoln contacted the cloakroom this afternoon to ask about the timing of upcoming votes. She was told that votes would not occur for a while, and she then informed the cloakroom that she would be leaving for a short time for a long-overdue doctor’s appointment. Senator Lincoln received a call while at the appointment, which informed her that votes were in fact taking place. At that point, she left the appointment to make it back for the vote.
While members are often permitted to vote if they are a few minutes late, the vote was closed and Senator Lincoln arrived just a few minutes later. She made a statement on the floor and indicated that had she been present, she would have voted in the affirmative. In addition, she will cosponsor a stand-alone bill that Senator Lieberman plans to introduce, which contains the same language as the amendment to the defense authorization bill regarding the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy.
Statement by the President on the Senate Vote on the National Defense Authorization Act
I am extremely disappointed that yet another filibuster has prevented the Senate from moving forward with the National Defense Authorization Act. Despite having the bipartisan support of a clear majority of Senators, a minority of Senators are standing in the way of the funding upon which our troops, veterans and military families depend. This annual bill has been enacted each of the past 48 years, and our armed forces deserve nothing less this year.
A minority of Senators were willing to block this important legislation largely because they oppose the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ As Commander in Chief, I have pledged to repeal this discriminatory law, a step supported by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and informed by a comprehensive study that shows overwhelming majorities of our armed forces are prepared to serve with Americans who are openly gay or lesbian. A great majority of the American people agree. This law weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness, integrity and equality.
I want to thank Majority Leader Reid, Armed Services Committee Chairman Levin, and Senators Lieberman and Collins for all the work they have done on this bill. While today’s vote was disappointing, it must not be the end of our efforts. I urge the Senate to revisit these important issues during the lame duck session.