The Washington Blade reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will schedule a vote on defense legislation containing repeal of the Military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy next week:
"A senior Democratic leadership aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Reid met with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday to inform the Republican leader that the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill will come to the Senate floor the week of Sept. 20. The aide said Senate leadership is anticipating the Senate won’t have unanimous consent to bring the legislation to the floor, so 60 votes will be necessary to end a filibuster and move forward with debate on the bill. 'We are going to take it the floor next week to see where the votes are,' the aide said."
Said Alexander Nicholson, founder and Executive Director of Servicemembers United: "We are both pleased and relieved that Senator Reid has decided to schedule the defense authorization bill for floor time next week. We are fairly confident that we will have the 60 votes to break a filibuster of this bill. It would be shameful for lawmakers to vote to hold up an important and expansive piece of legislation like the defense authorization bill simply because of their opposition to one or two provisions within it."
Politico adds: "Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich) downplayed the language in the existing authorization legislation, categorically rejecting that it amounts to a "repeal" of the 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy enacted in the Clinton administration. 'It does not repeal 'Don't ask, don't tell' — I wish that it did,' Levin said, before explaining that the language merely allows military authorities to overturn the policy if the internal reports they are conducting conclude that doing so would not be detrimental to troop morale. 'I think most people understand what this provision does.' Levin added that the bill was not perfect, but that the essential nature of funding troops in wartime necessitates passage."