Report: Senator Ben Nelson to Make Key ‘Yes’ Vote on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal Amendment

Open Left is reporting that Senator Ben Nelson will announce he's voting "yes" on the DADT repeal compromise. With Nelson's vote, Senator Carl Levin could have the votes he needs for the amendment in the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Nelson Nelson is expected to make his announcement at around 11:45 am.

Wonk Room is reporting that Senator Robert Byrd may also be a yes.

In related news, an excellent piece from Kerry Eleveld at The Advocate:

"Of course, now that this amendment is on the table, the only thing worse than passing it would be not passing it. Why? Because all those lawmakers and strategists who continually argue that LGBT legislation is toxic will cry 'I told you so' from the rafters if it fails. And a loss on repeal could have an adverse impact on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, partner benefits, and any other piece of equality legislation waiting in the wings. So how did we get where we are? The White House and Gates seemingly didn’t want a vote this year. Activists wouldn’t let up. Murphy, Levin, and Lieberman put in a heroic effort to salvage repeal. And in my estimation, when Levin was one vote away in the Senate committee, White House officials realized the repeal train was leaving without them and not hopping aboard was a no-win situation. If it passed, they would get no credit; if it failed by one vote, activists would castigate them for withholding support.

This compromise could still fail, and make no mistake, the deal was brokered by the White House, which then treated it as the redheaded stepchild it never wanted in the first place. But the outcome — win or lose — now has the administration's fingerprints on it, even though its refrain since Monday morning has been that Congress was forcing its hand."

Said Richard Socarides to Politico, on the White House's grudging realization that a compromise needed to be reached on DADT: “They got the message, I think, actually really from Pelosi that [Congress was] going to try to do this with or without the White House. … They could be part of it or not be part of it. She figured if Congress tried to get something done and failed, the White House would be blamed. If it tried to get something done and succeeded, and they stood on the sidelines, they’d look like jerks, and it would sort of make the president look bad. It was her leadership and her willingness to be out in front on this at the end that forced their hand.”


  1. Brian says

    How does Socarides have any credibility when it comes to DADT repeal? He was brought in to clean up the DOMA/DADT mess for Clinton. And what were Clinton’s accomplishments for LGBT people? None.

    I’m so sick of him.

    Sorry for the tangent/rant.

  2. Michael @ says

    With respect, could you please make all such references reflect REALITY?

    The most one can honestly say is that this is a “supposed” DADT repeal.

    And what you call “an excellent piece from Kerry Eleveld,” I call more half ass reporting from Kerry Eleveld.

    “a loss on repeal could have an adverse impact on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, partner benefits, and any other piece of equality legislation waiting in the wings.”????

    It wouldn’t if folks with voices…and White House Press Passes…. would start telling the WHOLE truth….that this is a CHARADE…that passing it WOULD be worse because it does NOT create “equality,” because it surrenders Congressional control to the Pentagon which has NO intention of stopping discharges!

    I think Levin/Murphy/Lieberman would take her calls.

    And, here, she totally goes off the rails:

    “if Congress votes to cede authority over the policy to the administration, President Obama will be uniquely empowered to issue an executive order”

    EXCUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSE ME!!!??! WHERE is any mention of the fact that Congress has ALREADY given the Presidency that power?????????????

    Does she have a flu bug or something affecting her memory about her OWN reporting over the last 16 months about the law Congress passed in 1983, 10 USC 12305, giving any President power to UNILATERALLY override ANY law and stop ANY discharges in the name of national security?????????

    Such as last June 15th when she reported Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying:

    “‘My hope is that it can be done administratively’. A Democratic aide later clarified that Reid was speaking about the possibility of USING AN EXECUTIVE ORDER to suspend discharges or perhaps halting enforcement of the policy by changing departmental regulations within the Department of Defense.”

    Note, no, “but, of course, the President doesn’t have that power.” And, three weeks ago, she shared a byline on a story containing this:

    “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi…urged the Obama administration to “IMMEDIATELY PLACE A MORATORIUM ON DISMISSALS ….”

    Again, with no “if ONLY he had the power.”

    One of the main dynamics in how we got here…with carte blanche power about to be returned to a homohating Pentagon like they had in 1992…with the five-year old proposal for a Congressionally required nondiscrimination policy in the military stripped away…with countless people believing this bill guarantees an end to discharges when it ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT…with a President who began to signal months before he was elected that he was backtracking on his promise for REAL repeal…is because of poor, naive reporting from most who are paid to tell us the whole, accurate truth.

  3. candideinnc says

    The first racial minority president of the U.S., and he is a coward in taking the lead in civil rights legislation. Who would have thought it? I guess in Hawaii, it wasn’t a problem being a minority, as long as you were straight!

  4. DR says

    I’m with Michael, we’re going to be in worse shape if this amendment passes than if it fails. Politically it may look good for the current administration, but when it comes to actual rights, the GLB community, and the military community in particular, is screwed, plain and simple.

    No protections, conditional timelines, and unfettered power back to the Pentagon. This is not a good thing.

  5. pete says

    The only reason this is still an issue is that the American military leadership is being greatly influenced by the Christian Right. They have taken over the AF academy and have strong corrosive power in the other institutions. The common people and the common soldier are solidly behind the end of DADT but the Christians, like the Corporate Aristocracy, know that what the people want matters little. Buy influence in the House of Lords (Senate) and infiltrate the Brass with true believers and you control the nation.

    Endless war against the Muslims is the Christian military’s wet dream. And you can’t have queers in a religious army.

  6. JusticeontheRocks says

    Wonderful. Now everyone can claim victory and put this on the back burner for a few years.

    Real leadership from Obama would be to require the DOD to complete its report by a time certain. Say, October 1. I don’t see that in here anywhere.

    Who works for who?