McConnell, GOP Senators Hold DADT Repeal, Dem Initiatives Hostage in Letter to Harry Reid

All 42 GOP Senators have signed a letter from Mitch McConnellto House Majority Leader Harry Reid threatening to block all initiatives, including the Defense Authorization Act with DADT attached, until Republicans get their way on Bush tax cuts.

McconnellExcerpt from letter from GOP Senators to Harry Reid, via The Plum Line:

Dear Leader Reid,

The nation's unemployment level, stuck near 10 percent, is unacceptable to Americans. Senate Republicans have been urging Congress to make private-sector job creation a priority all year. President Obama in his first speech after the November election said "we owe" it to the American people to "focus on those issues that affect their jobs." He went on to say that Americans "want jobs to come back faster." Our constituents have repeatedly asked us to focus on creating an environment for private-sector job growth; it is time that our constituents' priorities become the Senate's priorities.

For that reason, we write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers. With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate's attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike.


We look forward to continuing to work with you in a constructive manner to keep the government operating and provide the nation's small businesses with economic certainty that the job-killing tax hike will be prevented.

However, Greg Sargent says that there's a good possibility that certain GOP Senators would abandon McConnell on this:

"Senator Susan Collins confirms to me that she could still vote for cloture for the Defense Authorization Bill containing repeal of DADT if ample time is alloted for floor debate and amendments…This wouldn't be the first time a tactic like this from McConnell has failed to maintain GOP unity, despite his threats to the contrary. On Wall Street reform, Dems were able to break the GOP filibuster despite McConnell's bluff…Someone should ask senators Richard Lugar, Olympia Snowe, and John Ensign whether they are willing to rule out a vote for DADT repeal if the Bush tax cut standoff isn't yet resolved. My bet is their answers might be surprising."


  1. Fenrox says

    YES, Can we now PLEASE focus 95% of our ire and hate on the deserving target? REPUBLICANS = THE WORST. (Followed closely by Tea Party and Dems)

  2. walter says

    this a perfect example of the repuks cooperating to run the government. mmconnell is an asshole.these people would rather shut down the government and the military than do the right thing. the repuks don’t have the best interest of the country in mind only the rich and powerful.

  3. Scott says

    Elections have consequences, and this is what they look like. Still think there is no difference between Dems and Repubs? Every GOP Senator is willing to hold up equal rights, defense authorization and a nuclear treaty until millionaires get an unfunded, $700B tax break they don’t need (and which won’t stimulate the economy — it didn’t exactly work the past decade, did it!).

    But hey, everything is Obama/Dems fault, right? There is no difference between the parties, right?

  4. says

    Why don’t the Repukes just cut to the chase and be honest about their ultimate goal: NO taxes whatsoever for corporations and the insanely wealthy. Let the rapidly-vanishing middle class and the poor pay for everything, i.e. “Let them eat cake.”

  5. justiceontherocks says

    How are they going to keep the givernment operating without approving the Defense appropriations bill?

  6. major707 says

    Let me see if I understand the thinking here. We are mad because the Republicans are standing up and actually doing something for their very small base? What an ideal, why the hell can’t the Dems do the same for their base? Because they are don’t really give a shit about us, thats why!

  7. John says

    And to the 30-40 percent of gay geniuses who, according to various exit polls, voted Republican this year:

    Looks like you are going to get exactly what you wanted.


  8. Scott says

    Not to mention letting unemployment benefits expire. These benefits cost about $50-60B over a DECADE and are extremely stimulative to the economy, because these people need and therefore SPEND the money. (not to mention the MORAL AND RIGHT thing to do). Contrast to $700B cost for extra tax cuts for millionaires, which is NOT stimulative because they just save/hoard the money.

    It is very clear who the GOP is fighting for — corporations and the mega wealthy. At the expense of anything and everything else. Congratulations to all the disenchanted who sat out this election… we have gone from “slow progression” to “total regression.”

  9. Rob says

    This letter is but the latest proof of my long-held conclusion that Repugs have become the “opposition party” in the truest since of the word — they’re opposed to everything that has the stamp “Dem” or “Obama” on it. I can’t help but laugh everytime these obnoxious pols remind the Dems that as of last month “elections have consequences”. Once again, these consequences only matter when it favors the Repugs. I certainly didn’t hear this sentiment dripping from their lips following the November 2008 elections! I don’t see how Obama and the dwindling number of Congressional Dems are going to govern the next two years with this bunch continuing to obstruct everything that needs to be done to preserve and protect us. So, I suppose all those who voted more power to the Repugs are smug in the fact that — as a country — we’re probably screwed until at least we know the outcome of the November 2012 election.

  10. Steve says

    Yeah, those poor unemployed millionaires…

    Let’s assume for the sake of the argument that they actually did something that benefited poorer or unemployed people. It won’t make a difference to them, whether they decide on that now or in January. The issue isn’t THAT time-sensitive.

  11. Peter says

    Simple advice for the Dems: publicly and politically embarrass the Senate Rethugs as often and as widely as possible. These political greedhead scum are clearly acting in bad faith and only idiots or the delusional can believe that there is any further gain in playing nicely with political saboteurs willing to sacrifice world peace, the future of our LGBT servicemembers, the unemployed, and those of immigrant college students for the sake of personal political gain.

    No retreat, no surrender from fighting for political progress!

  12. Rowan says

    “why the hell can’t the Dems do the same for their base? Because they are don’t really give a shit about us, thats why!”

    Your spot on and bright to boot! From DADT to Healthcare reform those Dems in your country are working for the right wing GOP’s! Actually if the GOP are working against this and the Dems are working for, it means they are on opposites side.

    So by your bright comment which side are the Dems are? Centre Left? Centre? That still isn’t the side of the GOP is it?

    But then something tells me you don’t care and you are a sociopath. You must be part of getequal.

    Imagine if the Dems had actually be to the Left-not that it is possible with a right wing inherent culture-the GOP would’ve blown you guys up.

  13. terry says

    McConnell has one goal: 1 term for Obama. The Dems just don’t get it. Regardless the damage done to the country, or world as with the SALT treaty it doesn’t matter. In 2 years the shattered remains caused by “no compromise” will be blamed on Obama. It’s a scortched earth policy. Even with the votes the Dems have shown no balls and the Repubs have shown that they want a failed economic and diplomatic policy on Obama’s watch. It’s not about issues. It’s about driving the country into the ground to discredit the executive branch. To believe that the Repubs actually care about anything else is naive. McConnell made priority number one clear when he sait it was to one term Obama.

  14. says

    Actually, it’s not just DADT repeal that’s being held hostage. With the decision to filibuster the Defense Approprations bill, the Republicans are holding the US military hostage.

    Let’s see: (a) “You cut taxes for the wealthiest 2% of Americans, or we’ll raise them on everyone.” (b) “Let’s allow unemployment benefits to expire (after all, the unemployed are just an unproductive drain on society, anyway).” (c) “We’ll kill the defense appropriations bill unless we get everything we want.”

    It’s pretty clear who the Republicans are working for, and it isn’t any American I know.

  15. Dale says

    Here’s an upside…. now Gates, Mullen, the DoD and the Pentagon see exactly how the republicans play.

  16. Career says

    I see the Washington Post has lined up with the homophobes. Their story on the survey was radically biased against repeal.

    They included six quotes from the report, and three paraphrases. Six of those were anti-gay, which means that two-thirds of the mentions were against gays when the survey showed that two-thirds were okay with DADT repeal.

    The Post placed the anti-gay material at the top of its story where people were most likely to read it. The supportive quotes were placed at the bottom of the story where people were less likely to read them.

    The author of the story was a writer who, a few months ago, had written to the Delaware Tea Party to offer her propaganda services on their behalf:

    “I am trying to reach as many tea party supporters as I can for a cultural story about the movement. What are your interesting/inspiring/amusing stories about revealing to your friends, family or coworkers that you support the tea party? There must be some great tales out there that have helped people in your community see through the stereotypes of the movement.”

    Here is the Washington Post story:

    Here is the same writer’s e-mail to the Delaware Tea Party:

  17. Craig says

    How about this? Instead of holding us hostage to START, how about Dems making a deal that they won’t make the Republican’s lives a living hell by doing what they’ve done to us for 3 years? A single Democrat Senator can hold them up for years with filibusters. This is ridiculous.

  18. says

    This last lameduck session could actually be very productive if Reid has the balls to shut down debate early on. Don’t allow them to drag this on and on.

    If it becomes clear the repugnants won’t allow this to come to the floor for a vote, may I suggest reconciliation. After all, that’s how the repugnants got their massive unfunded tax cut for the wealthy jammed through as well as the unfunded piss-poor Medicare Part D that only favored the drug manufacturers.

    Do this, because you have some other things that need to be passed like the Dream Act, Stark Treaty and ENDA. If only Reid would get a spine.

  19. BobN says

    Reid needs to hold vote after vote. Let the GOP stand up and vote down the Defense bill over and over and over.


  20. JSH says

    Obama asked them to do this, yesterday…this is nothing more than political cover so he can cave-in on the tax breaks & then claim “victory” if DADT passes. Yesterday wasn’t about compromise it was about strategy. He’s working w/ the GOP to try to make himself look better while giving us more FAIL.

    The President asked the GOP to play the villain and they were all to happy to comply. Ignore the man behind the curtain.

  21. says

    OK; I’m getting blue in the face from saying “Leave it to the Courts”.
    It was never a valid law. It was always unconstitiutional……if these fucking tossers want to stand over an unconstitutional law let’s wait until they are educated by the Judges.
    Senators don’t know their arse from their elbows.

  22. Tracy says

    Won’t continuing to discharge LGBT members of the military raise unemployment? Won’t these people currently serving our nation be unemployed if they are discharged?

  23. major707 says

    OK, a little history Rowan, I am a a retired Navy Commander and a Democrat since I first voted in 1968. I have held elected office as a Democrat, and have listened to all the excuses the Democrats can muster to explain why they can’t do anything for us. Finally they control both houses of Congress and the White House and still can’t lead on LGBT issues. They don’t feel the need to expend the political energy on LGBTconcerns because they believe that we have no other choice but to support them. Look at what Obama did with heath care reform…the first President to get it done and he can’t take a stand on DADT or use the power of his office to get this done? There are a number of ways this “advocate” of ours could have ended DADT but he has chosen not to lead on this issue. I for one am tired of being the “abused wife” of the Democratic party. I didn’t vote Republican, but I sure has hell didn’t vote for any Democrats, and I refuse to cast another vote or spend another dime on them until they take action on LGBT issues. Look at how long we have been fighting for ENDA and it is still not happening! You remember what the definition of an insane person is: doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome………..go look in the mirror.

  24. KayLow says

    I blame the gay community for this, they campaigned every chance they got against Obama and the Democrats and in favor of the Republicans and now this is what we have to live with.

  25. Drakow says

    Its time for the President of the Senate to take the Chair and two Democrat Senators to propose and second to suspend the rules and specifically rule xxii (22) to succeed that needs 50 Senators +1 or the Vice President to break a tie. Joe Bidens’ Constitutional duty is to Chair the Senate, and he can do this by just walking in the door. Its been done before and is part of procedure. Harry ( Reid ) needs to hold his nerve and grow a spine and get this done – no 60 votes needed, it just takes 50 Democrats and the casting vote of the Vice President they stick together or get stuck separately.

    “Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained” [quote]

    Look up VP Rockerfeller on Google if you dont believe this.

  26. Quill says

    And this is another reason why I won’t vote Republican.

    Filibuster is the equivalent of throwing a political temper-tantrum, though it has real consequences now. Way to classy, GOP.

    Still, the Democrats need to call their bluff, though I’m more than a little doubtful they have the backbone to.

    Actually make them stand there and blab on end until their voice grows hoarse.

  27. Randy says

    The Obama Admin should send a similar letter promising to veto any extension of the very tax cuts that already broke the bank.

    Mitch: you lost. The House will switch NEXT YEAR, and the Senate will not. You can continue to be the party of stamping feet and baby crying like you’ve been doing, or you can be an adult and get to work.