Senate leadership has planned a vote on a free-standing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell legislative repeal, unencumbered by the defense authorization bill, to come to the floor sometime in the lame duck session, perhaps next week. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins are co-sponsoring the bill, which will have the same language as what was in the defense authorization bill. Harry Reid will co-sponsor as well, and they will use Rule 14 to bypass the Senate Armed Services Committee and bring it directly to the floor.
You can see some desperation in these moves, and it doesn’t ensure the bill will go anywhere. The blockage of the overall defense bill was basically over this issue. But there are advantages. Collins is a co-sponsor, so presumably her vote is in hand. Joe Manchin has said that he’d be the 60th vote for repeal if the votes are there, and I’m not sure I believe that but FWIW. Blanche Lincoln missed the vote today but said she’d have voted yes. So you can sort of see a path (if you squint) to at least 59 votes.
That leaves Scott Brown, Lisa Murkowski and Richard Lugar, all on the record supporting repeal, and all of whom voted no for BS procedural reasons today. Will they continue in this vein? Will they say that the Senate Armed Services Committee was cut out of the deal, or that there won’t be enough time for amendments (what’s to amend with this bill?), or what? Will they keep trying to have it both ways?
Not to mention the fact that you’d have to get this bill back through the House, too. It cleared easily inside the defense bill, but at this point, who knows? And Ike Skelton, the current chair of the House Armed Services Committee, is opposed to the change in policy. I assume Nancy Pelosi could go around him, but that’s an issue as well.
This may be a good time to mention that the filibuster sucks.