UPDATE: Senate Negotiations Fast and Furious as Endgame for ‘DADT’ Repeal Looms

There have been reports that Senator Susan Collins is stonewalling the process by demanding open debate and amendments:

Collins In private discussions between Collins and Reid this morning, and between their staffs over the weekend, Collins has demanded that Reid allow what's known as "unlimited debate" on the bill in order for her to vote for repeal, the aide close to the talks says.

Reid has rejected this demand, the aide continues. The problem is that this could allow any Senator to hijack the proceedings by introducing a "non-germane amendment," thus holding the floor.

Reid does not think Collins herself intends to do this, the aide continues. Rather, he worries that another GOP Senator who strongly opposes repeal, such as Tom Coburn or Jim DeMint, could take advantage of unlimited debate in this fashion to run out the clock.

Collins' office denies it:

A spokesman for Collins flatly denies she asked Reid for unlimited debate. Rather, the spokesman says, Collins has pointed out to Reid that the average number of days spent debating previous defense authorization bills has been 11 days, with an average of 14 or so amendments considered. Collins has asked Reid to come up with a comparable offer, the spokesman says.

No one appears to be disputing that the talks have hit a snag, though.

Lieberman Senator Joe Lieberman says that 60+ votes are there and all that is needed is agreement on the process to move forward. He insists that Collins has been working in good faith.

“Senator Collins has been working in good faith to achieve an agreement on the process to move forward with the defense bill that contains the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ I categorically reject reports by uninformed staffers who have suggested otherwise. As she always does, Senator Collins is working diligently and across party lines to find solutions to the challenges that confront our country. I call on those responsible for such baseless allegations to stop immediately and instead work to get to an agreement to bring this critical bill to the floor for Senate action.

“We are making progress toward an agreement to move forward on the defense bill that includes the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and I remain confident that we can reach an agreement, which is necessary before any vote on the motion to reconsider is taken. I am working closely with Senator Reid and Senator Collins and other members who want to reach a fair and reasonable agreement to move the defense authorization bill that that is so essential to the needs of our troops, veterans, and their families.

“It is now more clear than ever that we have 60 or more votes in support of repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ so it is vitally important to reach agreement on the right process to move forward.”

DadtAnd final alternatives are being considered for the Defense bill if DADT talks fail, the Wonk Room adds:

"As of this writing, Reid still intends to bring the NDAA to a vote, which advocates of repeal say will likely fail without the support of Collins. And in a move that could be interpreted as a recognition of this reality, negotiators are moving some of the must-pass military authorizations out of the NDAA and into the continuing resolution. From CQ’s John M. Donnelly:

A draft continuing resolution in the House contains several provisions that echo “must-pass” portions of the troubled defense authorization bill, setting up a backup plan in the increasingly likely event that Congress fails to clear the annual defense policy measure for the first time in nearly half a century.

Meanwhile, Chris Geidner at MetroWeekly reports that Obama is finally engaging:

White House spokesman Shin Inouye tells Metro Weekly, "The President has been reaching out to Senators from both sides of the aisle to reiterate his desire to see Congress pass the National Defense Authorization Act, including a repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell', during the lame duck."]

One advocate, however, already this morning is throwing out a warning to Reid. Servicemembers United's Alex Nicholson said Reid must be reasonable with the NDAA amendment process or "he will be intentionally throwing the vote."

WATCH: Harry Reid Says Vote on Defense Bill, 'DADT' 'Likely' Tonight [tr] 
BREAKING: Senate Might Vote on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Today? [tr]


  1. says

    Please tell us again: whom does Log Cabin Repug Alex Nicholson work for? Gay service members or the GOP? Was it not enough of a betrayal of our allies that LCR helped run Patrick Murphy out of office? Now Nicholson is expanding his laughable hissy fit that Senate Repugs like McCain and McConnell are simply poor innocent little lambs being abused by Big Bad Wolf Reid.

    “It was Senator McConnell who killed the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell [in September]. It was his job to block any chance for passage of repeal, and he was smart, methodical and tricky. Working with Senator McCain and conservative organizations, the GOP shifted the focus of the debate away from the policies in question and onto Senate procedures. Rather than being framed as a vote on the gay ban, the Defense Authorization vote was portrayed as an issue of process, Senate protocol and party loyalty. There were many smokescreens around this vote, but the GOP had only one target – stopping the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell. This was damage done by design.” – The Palm Center.

  2. says

    @ MC: You couldn’t mean the Blanche Lincoln that Obama failed to get on board for the September vote even tho she owed him BIG time for getting her renominated for the Senate race. [She ended up losing, but that’s beside the point.]

    Wouldn’t one think that if he genuinely cared about ending the ban THAT would have been a condition of his endorsement of her?

  3. Patric says

    Agree with Michael that Alex Nicholson is predictably a lap dog for Republicans whenever this issue comes up. If Susan Collins really believes in equality, she’ll vote for it for once in her life and stop hiding behind excuses about procedure. I mean, even a Democrat as conservative as Mark Pryor, who believes that homosexuality is a sin, has now committed to voting for cloture and allowing an up or down vote. As for Scott Brown, he’s voted against us twice already on this issue (in May and in September) and, until he shows himself ready to stand up to McConnell and McCain on this issue and allow an up-or-down vote, any press releases he issues about “supporting” repeal (no matter how gullibly some here will lap them up) are purely political posturing ahead of his tough re-election fight in a very blue state in 2012.

  4. mcNnyc says

    Oh yes I do Michael…and I was being snarky….cause this may just be the nail in OB’s presidency…I think if the Dems had any balls left they’d insist REID resign his leadership after this debacle of a lame duck session.
    Yeah that’l happen….

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