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Majority 57-40 Votes Loses in Senate on Repeal of DADT

This is the U.S. Senate we’re talking about, where 40 votes beats 57 votes. Welcome to U.S. democracy.

By Michael D. Shear in the NYT

The Senate has turned down the attempt to move ahead with a defense bill that would repeal the ban on gay troops serving openly in the military. The vote was 57-40, three short of the 60 needed.

Republicans defeated a motion that would have cut off debate on an overall defense authorization bill, including repeal.

The move is a setback to President Obama and the Democratic leadership, who have made repealing the policy a key priority. And it short-circuited the efforts of a handful of Republicans who said they supported a repeal but wanted more time to negotiate the process of the voting.

Their leader, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, voted in favor of the motion but was not joined by any of her colleagues.

Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, called for the key procedural vote on repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy despite having failed to reach agreement with Republicans to proceed.

Republicans had indicated that without an agreement about the number of amendments and the timing of the debate, they would vote against moving forward to vote on the legislation.

Mr. Reid conceded that that the failure to reach an agreement could doom the effort to repeal the policy, which has been a key priority for President Obama and gay activists.

“Despite the critical importance for our troops, for our nation, and for justice that we get this bill done, we have not been able to reach an agreement,” Mr. Reid said this afternoon. “And I regret to say that it is our troops who will pay the price for our inability to overcome partisan political posturing.”

Mr. Reid’s decision to move forward in an attempt to force a vote caught senators off guard, including Ms. Collins, who had been negotiating with Mr. Reid about the terms of the debate.

In an impassioned, impromptu speech, Ms. Collins complained that she wanted to vote in favor of the overall bill, including the repeal provision, but could not do so without an agreement on the process first.

View the original article at Veterans Today

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