Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Senate Fails on DADT Repeal

This is what wimps look like.
The Senate voted 46 - 53 on Tuesday, against limiting debate on the National Defense Authorization Act, opening the door for Republicans, led by John "Grumpy Old Man" McCain to filibuster the bill until the clock runs out before the mid-term elections.

The bill includes language to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and funding for several unpopular projects, including a Trojan Horse that would provide nearly $500 million for a jet fighter engine that nobody, including the president, wants to fund.

The House approved repeal language last Spring. The senate will have a few weeks to revisit the bill again in December, during it's year-end, post-election lame duck session.

The New York Times reports:
The outcome, at a time when Congress is increasingly paralyzed by the partisan fury of the midterm elections, was more a result of a dispute between Democrats and Republicans over legislative process than a straightforward referendum on whether to allow gay, lesbian and bisexual soldiers to serve openly.

President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have all said they favor repealing the 17-year-old policy. And the House has already approved legislation that would allow the Pentagon to rescind it, while the legal fight is advancing in the federal courts.

But Senate Republicans voted unanimously to block debate on the bill, the annual authorization of military programs, after the majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, said he would attach a number of the Democrats’ election-year priorities to it while also moving to limit the amendments offered by Republicans.

One Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, said she voted to block the bill for procedural reasons despite supporting the provision to allow repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Other Republicans have suggested they might be open to supporting the change later in the year, once the military has finished a study of the likely effects of the proposed policy shift.
Why is it that the Republicans were able to shove the Bush agenda down the throats of Americans for eight years, yet the Democrats can't seem to get their act together enough to pass something 80% of Americans are in favor of? Say what you want about the GOP, but they know how to use their power when they have it. The do-nothing Dems could take a lesson from them.

The Human Rights Campaign, Servicemembers United and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network have all released statements of outrage and disappointment. The focus, for the time being, is now on pressuring Attorney General Eric Holder, not to challenge the recent federal court ruling declaring DADT unconstitutional. Given the Obama Administration's record of talking out of both sides of its mouth on LGBT rights, I don't see much hope for them letting the ruling stand.
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