Reid looks ahead

REID LOOKS AHEAD…. After meeting with the Senate Democratic caucus this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) answered reporters’ questions about what to expect from the rest of the session.

Igor Volsky posted a clip of the most relevant comments, but for those who can’t watch videos from your work computers, Reid was asked about whether he expected to bring a repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to the floor before Christmas.

“I don’t know if I’ll bring it before Christmas,” Reid said. “Before this Congress ends, we’re gonna complete or have a vote, determine a vote, on the START treaty, the DREAM Act, ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ 9/11, and hopefully we can get agreement on nominations, otherwise we’ll have some votes on nominations.”

He added that he’d “like to” get to DADT quickly, but he’s “not sure we can.”

Just to clarify, “9/11” was in reference to the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, and “nominations” refers to a few dozen pending judicial nominations.

It’s discouraging, in a way, that DADT isn’t slated for consideration sooner. Reid didn’t rule it out, but based on his comments, I’d say the likelihood of a vote before Christmas is remote. But the key part of his comments this afternoon is that he’s already thinking about post-Christmas votes — in other words, Reid’s sense of the calendar is that members will go home for the holiday, and then return, which vastly improves the odds of getting things done.

He added, “We are in session, if necessary, up to January 5th. That is the clock our Republican colleagues need to run out. It’s a long clock.”

If he sticks to this, it’s good news.

What’s more, other Senate Dems left their caucus meeting telling reporters that DADT repeal is a priority of the leadership.

As for the various obstructionist stunts, the majority has some related responses in mind: “Democrats think they may have a way around such tactics: hold 24-hour sessions where time could run out on the procedural objections in a fewer amount of days. It’s unclear whether that tactic will be employed, but Democrats discussed it the Thursday meeting.”

Update: Of course, in order for Reid’s strategy to work, senators have to actually show up after Christmas to do their jobs. If even a few Dems fail to do so, Republican obstructionism will succeed.