December 18, 2010
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By Adam Bink
Updates will scroll from the top.
Update 23: Brown, Conrad, Kirk, Murkowski, Snowe, Voinovich all came through as ayes. That means we’ll get more than 60. Game, set, match.
Update 22: Thing #1,422 that would make the Senate less archaic: Live tally of Senators voting yea vs. nay. And clerk announcing a Senator’s vote after calling their name. And dispense with the alphabetical reading. Wow, that’s three things already. I guess the Senate really is freaking archaic.
Update 21: And yeas and nays are called for. Clerk is now calling the drumroll, I mean, roll. Here we go.
Update 20: After some commotion in the gallery, Sen. Lieberman rises to ask for support for the cloture motion. The big vote coming up in a few minutes. It’s 11:38 AM EST.
Update 19: The DREAM Act goes down, 55-41. We have some work to do for our immigrant brothers and sisters also victimized by oppression.
Update 18: Collins, who for some reason has disappeared from the face of Capitol Hill since she introduced the bill with Lieberman and seemingly couldn’t be bothered to speak in favor of her own bill this morning, just voted no on DREAM.
Update 17: Brown of Massachusetts, Snowe, Tester, Nelson of Nebraska went no on DREAM. All swing votes. Lugar, Dorgan, Conrad, Landrieu went yes, but it’s hard to see a path to victory without those 4 based on target lists I’ve seen.
Update 16: Dear Sen. Collins, it would have been nice if you’d shown up to speak in favor of your own bill. Just a thought. Love, repeal advocates.
Update 15: At 11:12 AM EST, morning business and debate is brought to a close. A vote will now be coming up in the next few minutes on the DREAM Act. If it fails, the Senate will immediately proceed to a cloture vote on DADT. Note that that vote will not be final passage, but will be the “big kahuna” in the sense of the largest remaining legislative roadblock we have to remove.
Update 14: The Majority Leader steps up to passionately speak about the DREAM Act around 11 AM, and about how fortunate we are to have immigrants in the first place, who help build this country. Which makes me think how lucky I am to have my gay immigrant boyfriend next to me right now
Update 13: Following Sen. Durbin’s outstanding speech calling for courage on behalf of Senators concerned they are taking a “tough political vote”, Sen. McConnell steps up to whine about process and lack of amendments. Maybe if Republicans haven’t blocked everything in sight, we wouldn’t have to have an expedited process.
Update 12: Man, McCain is peeved that he can’t introduce his poison pill amendment. Ranting about process and elections.
Update 11: The Senators from the great (and my home) state of New York, Sens. Gillibrand and Schumer, step up to advocate strongly for DADT repeal and DREAM Act, respectively. Sen. Schumer is right- we will prevail on the DREAM Act, sooner or later.
Update 10: The DREAM Act speeches from Republicans are something. If you oppose kids who are undocumented through no fault of their own gaining legal status through education, of all things, we have a very long way to go on comprehensive immigration reform. Goodness’ sake.
Update 9: A colleague just pointed out that Sen. Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew so frum (here’s a definition of that) that he wouldn’t campaign on Saturdays before sunset during the 2000 Presidential campaign, is working this morning. Good for him.
Update 8: Sen. Lieberman is up discussing American history and the experience after expanding freedom and rights given in the Declaration of Independence for African-Americans, women, and other oppressed individuals.
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Update 6: Although it would be nice if Webb learned to talk like he’s never met a gay person in his life. He just said it would be nice we let those serve who have an “open lifestyle, not, uh, lifestyle, but open way of living among people who have different points of view.” Um.
Update 5: Sen. Webb, who voted nay in committee some months ago, has come around to speak in favor today. He’s one vote we can credit, at least in part, to the report and the advocacy of military leaders.
Update 4: Sen. Mark Udall, who has been a very loud and proud voice for repeal, just finished speaking. For all the attention on Sens. Lieberman and Collins (and by the way, did anyone else find it odd we have heard nary a peep from Collins more or less since last week’s vote?), Sens. Mark Udall and Gillibrand have been very much out there for some time. I remember Sen. Gillibrand in 2009 introducing stand-alone legislation, actually.
Update 3: Man, rising before 9 on a Saturday + watching Sen. Sessions with breakfast is a bad combination. Fortunately, Sen. Wyden, who is going the extra distance by being here with impending surgery on Monday, steps up to say, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is wrong! I don’t care who you love, if you love this country enough to risk your life for it… you should be able to serve!”
Update 2: The question of debate time has come up. If we assume cloture is not invoked on the DREAM Act and it is on DADT repeal, then the Senate will have to spend 30 hours’ worth of legislative consideration. The 30 hours can be waived, but usually only by unanimous consent- or, technically, they could get 2/3rds (67 Senators) voting to suspend Rule XXII, but neither scenario is likely at the moment. Despite the expected 60+ votes for cloture, 90%+ of the Republican caucus still is opposed to repeal and many (McCain and co.) will want their say. Plus, Republicans just seem to revel is slowing things down as much as possible to prevent legislative consideration of judges and other nominees they’ve held up this year. On the other hand, everyone wants to go home for the holidays. So we’ll see.
Update 1: The Senate is now in session. First vote is expected at approximately 10:30 AM EST on the DREAM Act. It is increasingly looking like the votes are not there for DREAM, which means they’ll spend around 15 minutes voting, it will go down, then we’ll have a vote on DADT around 10:50 AM EST. Sen. Jeff Sessions is ranting about social agendas, DREAM Act and DADT. I’m not going to spend much time writing about that, or anyone else’s rant/speech, unless it’s notable.
This morning, the Senate will consider a cloture motion on the DREAM Act and, if cloture is not invoked, will also consider a cloture motion on repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” From the Senate calendar:
Convenes: 9:00am Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will resume executive session to resume consideration of the New START Treaty. Following any Leader remarks in Executive session, the Senate will turn to Legislative session and be in a period of morning business until 10:30am with senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each, with the time equally divided and controlled between the two Leaders or their designees.
At 10:30am, the Senate will proceed to a series of up to 4 roll call votes in relation to the following items:
- Motion to invoke cloture on the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R.5281, (DREAM Act);
- if cloture is not invoked on the DREAM Act, the Senate would proceed to vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R.2965 (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell);
- Following the cloture vote/s, the Senate will proceed to vote on confirmation of the nomination of Albert Diaz, of North Carolina, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit; and
- On confirmation of the nomination of Ellen Hollander, of Maryland, to be United States District Judge for the District of Maryland.
It is looking unlikely cloture (60 votes) will be invoked on the DREAM Act, but if it is, then the Senate will have to spend 30 hours’ worth of legislative consideration on that bill and that will be the only one considered, meaning a vote on DADT will not be taken until it is finished, meaning it would be pushed off until later in the weekend. Once cloture is invoked, the measure on which it is invokved becomes the only permissible pending business. So, today may not be very exciting. But if cloture is not invoked on the DREAM Act, they will proceed directly to DADT later this morning and then we’ll have a denouement to the drama. Again, cloture is the last big legislative hurdle remaining.
I will update the post during leader remarks after the Senate goes into session. Updates will scroll from the top.