SENATE REPUBLICANS KILL DADT REPEAL (AGAIN)…. It’s going to take some time to piece together exactly what went wrong here.
All signs suggested we were getting very close to securing the votes needed to advance the defense authorization bill and repeal the indefensible “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who claims to support repeal, had presented a series of demands to Democratic leaders: she wanted a total of 15 amendments to be considered over the course of four days of debate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had already agreed to the 15 amendments, but not the four days.
Talks between the two appeared to break down today, for reasons that are still unclear. It led to a floor discussion this afternoon in which Collins, seemingly sincere about her willingness to help break the filibuster, pressed Reid to accept her terms. Reid did not.
The result was a replay of the last time Republicans killed DADT repeal, in September — GOP senators who claimed to want to do the right thing blocked a vote because they disapproved of the majority’s procedural measures.
The final vote was 57 to 40, with 57 senators in support and 40 in opposition. Because the Senate is ridiculous, a 57-member tripartisan majority loses, and a 40-member minority wins.
More very soon.
Update: Collins, who waited until just about every other senator had already voted, ended up supporting the measure, voting with Democrats. She was the only Republican to break ranks.
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) said he supports repeal, but he voted for the filibuster.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she supports repeal, but she voted for the filibuster.
Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and John Ensign (R-Nev.) said they were prepared to consider repeal, but they both voted for the filibuster.
I should note that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), to his credit, was aggressively working the floor, trying to convince some of these Republicans to switch their votes. In particular, he spent quite a while pressing Murkowski, pleading with her to do the right thing. She did not, but I give Lieberman credit for trying as hard as he did.
One Democrat — West Virginia’s Joe Manchin — voted with Republicans. It meant the majority needed to pick up at least three GOP votes, which obviously didn’t happen.