Joe Lieberman Hub

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]

Watch: Anderson Cooper asks Lieberman — How Much of Opposition to 'DADT' Repeal is Folks Who Just Don't Like Gay People?


Anderson Cooper discussed yesterday's 'DADT' Senate hearings on his show last night and interviewed Joe Lieberman, who accused McCain of changing standards (McCain has standards?).

Anderson also asked: "How much of the opposition of other folks in Congress is from folks who just don't like gay people?"



Continue reading "Watch: Anderson Cooper asks Lieberman — How Much of Opposition to 'DADT' Repeal is Folks Who Just Don't Like Gay People?" »

Watch: Joe Lieberman Disagrees with McCain's Bigotry-Based Opposition to 'DADT' Repeal


Andrea Mitchell plays a bit of John McCain siding with service members who object to serving alongside gay people in today's Senate hearings on DADT.

Says McCain: "We send these young people into combat. We think they're mature enough to fight and die. I think they're mature enough to make a judgment on who they want to serve with and the impact on their battle effectiveness."

Lieberman responds:

"It's not acceptable in our country to judge people based on their...sexual orientation."


The NYT has more on McCain's shameful and embarrassing performance.

Continue reading "Watch: Joe Lieberman Disagrees with McCain's Bigotry-Based Opposition to 'DADT' Repeal" »

Watch: Lieberman on Chances for Senate Vote on 'DADT' Repeal


Senator Joe Lieberman says he's made no progress with his friend John McShame in convincing him on DADT but believes that there are 60 votes for cloture on the NDAA, which contains the repeal amendment.

"I believe we have more than 60 Senators, including a good solid handful of Republicans, who are prepared to vote to take up the Armed Services bill, which already has within it the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. And the real challenge here is the clock. Will we take the time to have the debate, not just on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell but on the underlining Defense Authorization bill. And I can tell you that some of the Republicans who want to be for this, also want to make sure that Senator Reid offers them a fair amendment process.

The Wonk Room suggests that some GOP leaders are "hinting that they will try to run-out the clock or pressure Democrats to drop the measure in return for Republican cooperation on the New START treaty."


Continue reading "Watch: Lieberman on Chances for Senate Vote on 'DADT' Repeal" »

Lieberman: Pentagon Should Release 'DADT' Study Immediately


Senator Joe Lieberman spoke with MSNBC today and said that he disagrees with John McCain and that the Pentagon should release the results of its 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' study immediately, the Wonk Room reports.

Said Lieberman:

"I’m not giving up on us doing a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t tell during the lame duck session. To make that possible, I hope that the Defense Department can find a way to issue this report that they’ve got pretty much done, but going through clearance now, as quickly as possible and certainly before December 1st. We’ve got time to do this, and it’s the right thing to do."

Late on Friday, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell expressed anger that encouraging results from the report had been leaked and said that Defense Sec'y Gates has no intention of releasing it before it has been reviewed.


Continue reading "Lieberman: Pentagon Should Release 'DADT' Study Immediately" »

Lieberman, Udall, Gillibrand Urge Senate Repeal of DADT

Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Mark Udall (D-CO), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) issued a joint statement today urging the Senate to pass the defense bill along with the amendment repealing DADT in the upcoming  lame duck Senate session.

Gillibrand “The Senate should act immediately to debate and pass a defense authorization bill and repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ during the lame duck session.  The Senate has passed a defense bill for forty-eight consecutive years.  We should not fail to meet that responsibility now, especially while our nation is at war.  We must also act to put an end to the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy that not only discriminates against but also dishonors the service of gay and lesbian service members.

“The National Defense Authorization Act is essential to the safety and well-being of our service members and their families, as well as for the success of military operations around the world.  The bill will increase the pay of all service members, authorize needed benefits for our veterans and wounded warriors, and launch military construction projects at bases throughout the country.

“The process established by the defense bill would also allow ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ to be repealed in an orderly manner, and only after the President, Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have certified to Congress that repeal is ‘consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces.’  If Congress does not act to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in an orderly manner that leaves control with our nation’s military leaders, a federal judge may do so unilaterally in a way that is disruptive to our troops and ongoing military efforts.  It is important that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ be dealt with this year, and it appears that the only way that can happen is if it is on the defense bill.    

“We are pleased that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has also called on Congress to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ We must act upon our responsibility to our troops and their family members and to the thousands of gay and lesbian service members who serve their nation bravely and honorably by passing the National Defense Authorization Act before the end of the year.”

As I mentioned earlier, there's very little time, and there's the issue of John McCain.


Towleroad - Blogged