December 4, 2010
By Adam Bink
Over at AMERICABlog, Joe Sudbay catches Harry Reid live from the Senate floor explaining how the Senate is going to move foward on repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and other issues.
The relevant excerpt:
AND THE OTHER THING THAT I’VE INDICATED — IN FACT I HAD A NUMBER OF CONVERSATIONS, BIPARTISAN IN NATURE, YESTERDAY — WE’RE ALSO TRYING TO FIGURE OUT A TIME TO MOVE FORWARD ON THE DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL. THE ISSUE ON THAT, MADAM PRESIDENT, IS WHAT WE DO WITH AMENDMENTS. AND WITHOUT BELABORING THE POINT HERE, I WOULD BE HAPPY TO CONSIDER DOING A NUMBER OF AMENDMENTS, IF WE HAVE TIME AGREEMENTS ON THOSE AMENDMENTS. BUT JUST TO HAVE AN OPEN PROCESS, AT THIS STAGE, I DON’T SEE HOW WE CAN DO THAT. BUT I WILL CONTINUE TO WORK WITH MY FRIEND, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE, AND OTHERS INTERESTED, BOTH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS, RECOGNIZING HOW IMPORTANT THAT LEGISLATION IS.
As Joe writes, time is our enemy with the target adjournment date on December 17th. What is also our enemy is the process. As I wrote this afternoon, it is critical that the amendment process be such that pro-repeal votes are enabled to be cast. Meaning, at some point, process begins to take precedence over policy, as we are close to 60 on-the-record pro-repeal votes- but we do not have the votes on policy.
In tomorrow’s Washington Post Topic A, SLDN head Aubrey Sarvis will write the following (bolding mine):
The path for repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is clear: The National Defense Authorization Act, legislation to fund our troops that includes the repeal provisions, must be called up in the Senate early this week under an approach that ensures senators on both sides of the aisle a fair shot at amendments and debate.
The immediate task for Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will be to find 60 senators to stop a filibuster threatened by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). No debate on the merits of the bill will happen unless a handful of Republicans break off and support funding our troops. If the 42 GOP senators – including several who support repeal of don’t ask – stand with their party on process and procedure, their vote will be an endorsement of the discrimination that has cost 14,000 men and women their jobs and threatened our country’s national security by discharging mission-critical service members.
Let’s hope the Republicans don’t stand with their party and on process and procedure- and that Sen. Reid doesn’t give them an excuse to do so, either.