WASHINGTON, D.C., December 17, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The US Senate will take a vote on Saturday morning to begin repeal the 1993 law that bans homosexuals from serving in the armed forces. The law is commonly referred by the name of an accompanying Pentagon enforcement policy called “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT).
The Senate will take up the stand-alone bill passed by the US House of Representatives on Wednesday by a vote of 250 in favor to 175 against.
The bill passed by the House is a “privileged motion”, which means the US Senate cannot add amendments and the time for debate is cut in half. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has scheduled the motion for cloture for Saturday morning. If Reid gets 60 votes in the Senate for cloture, a final vote is anticipated for Sunday or Monday.
Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, said the cloture vote gave Senators no time to examine the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Review Working Group Report on repeal of the 1993 law or to assess the report’s findings and recommendations.
“If senators who want to retain responsibility for decisions affecting our military stay true to their own statements, there is no way in good conscience to vote for concurrence with the ‘privileged’ House bill to repeal the 1993 law,” said Donnelly. “The legislation is not amendable-our troops deserve better than this.”
Three Republicans, Sens. Scott Brown (Mass.), Susan Collins (Maine), and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) have indicated that they will break their pledge with the GOP caucus to filibuster all legislation until a spending bill is passed, and vote with the Democrat majority to repeal DADT.
Reid is scheduling the vote before the Senate has approved the short-term Continuing Resolution proposed by Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that will keep the government funded at current levels until February and replace the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill sought by Democrats.
It is not clear whether Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), a DADT repeal supporter, will break the pledge and vote for cloture. If all four Republicans vote for repeal, it seems that Reid will have enough votes to break the GOP filibuster led by Vietnam veteran and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Only Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has broken with his party to oppose repeal. However, Talking Points Memo reports that there is a possibility that Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) may vote to join the GOP filibuster on DADT repeal. Conrad voted for DADT repeal when it was part of the failed defense authorization bill, but now Senate Democrats are uncertain as to how he will vote on the stand-alone bill.