December 1, 2010
by Andy Kelley
Senate Republicans have delivered a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid stating that they will not allow a vote on any piece of legislation coming before the Senate, without an extension of the Bush tax cuts. This news comes as the Senate prepares further hearings on the National Defense Authorization Act, which contains language to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
As Metro Weekly reports, the letter from Senate Republicans states:
[W]e 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.
Efforts to link the Bush tax cuts to the NDAA are the latest in a thinly veiled series of efforts by GOP Republicans to bring the lame-duck Senate to a halt.
But this time, this obstructionism could spell disastrous results for the repeal of DADT. As the Washington Blade notes:
The letter is signed by all 42 members of the Republican caucus, including those who are seen as swing votes on moving forward with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” such as Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.). Newly seated Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) is also among the signers.
Aubrey Sarvis, Executive Director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network responded to this news directly stating:
The Republican caucus that has expressed strong support for a vote on extending the Bush era tax cuts should be as equally unified in support of a vote in the lame-duck session on the nation’s defense bill, the very bill which provides for our security and the well being of service members who defend us every day,” he said in the statement. “It’s past time for those Republican senators who say they support a vote on the defense bill and repeal to show it with a vote, and not by words alone…
After twenty-three months of excuses and delays in this Congress, it’s time to vote. If Republicans or Democrats use ‘procedure’ and the tax bill as excuses for not voting that is the very same as voting no. A no vote when Reid calls the repeal vote will not only put senators on the wrong side of history, it will also put them in opposition to the overwhelming majority of those who serve in our armed forces and the most senior members of our military.
I for one, agree with Aubrey. The time for the Senate to act has come, and we cannot afford their newest distraction.
We will continue to bring you updates here as this story develops.