The defense authorization bill is a parochial affair. Lots of money and lots of local concerns flow through that appropriation. So the idea that Republicans would hold a united front and block passage was never credible. It got even less credible today:

Although (Sen. Scott) Brown opposes the repealing of the policy, he has stated that he will not join with fellow Republicans to mount a filibuster preventing a Senate vote.

“Filibuster’s never — it’s not my style. I want to make sure that we have a full and fair debate on it,” he said in an interview yesterday.

Brown’s lack of interest in a filibuster, and Susan Collins’ support of the Lieberman Don’t Ask Don’t Tell amendment, makes it extremely difficult for Republicans to sustain a filibuster on the underlying bill. They would now need at least two Democrats to join them.

This doesn’t mean completely smooth sailing for the bill, of course. Carl Levin said that inclusion of the DADT measure has “complicated my life to get the bill to the floor,” but he nonetheless predicted passage before the Senate went on summer recess. The House will likely pass the defense authorization bill later today, they’re working on the last few amendments right now.

This amendment would have to be sustained through the defense appropriations bill as well, and then signed by the President, and then the Pentagon study would have to be released, and then certified by the President, the Defense Secretary and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs (with a 60-day review period after that). So we obviously have a long way to go here.