It’s looking like Sen. John McCain will get his way. With a cloture vote coming today to end debate on 2011’s Department of Defense Authorization bill (and nix any possibility of Republican amendments), Maine’s Republican Sen. Susan Collins says she’s not going to vote for it, meaning the Democrats will be (at least) one vote short of pushing it through. UPDATE: In a roll call vote of 56-43, the Senate failed to score a 60-vote majority to block John McCain’s attempt to filibuster, meaning there is no cloture, and no immediate end to debate on the budget bill or DADT’s compromised repeal. Sen. Snowe voted against cloture.
If, or when, the DADT repeal effort fails today, much ire will be aimed at Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader who allowed Republican colleagues to add only one amendment to the Defense spending bill (the DREAM Act, which technically has bipartisan support) — something the GOP balked at, and did nothing but firm up their opposition to voting in favor of the law. It was this “my way or no way” mentality that had some critics immediately calling Reid’s strategy a bust.
And for all the Democrats’ insisting that it was McCain who needed to be convinced to drop his filibuster threat, it turns out that McCain may have successfully argued the vote today is just political maneuvering. Here’s McCain on the Senate floor today:
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(Not mentioned by McCain, but noted by Sen. Carl Levin in a follow-up response immediately after McCain, is that the DADT repeal language requires the Pentagon sign off on a repeal.)
And it’s no wonder in today’s planned post-DADT vote press conference organized by Sens. Richard Durbin and Joe Lieberman has invited the Human Rights Campaign’s Joe Solmonese and not anybody from Servicemembers Legal Defense Network or Servicemembers United — because those groups are the only ones willing to criticize the White House and Democrats Inc. on their failure to push harder. SLDN spokesman Trevor Thomas: “We have not seen any signs that the White House has been whipping this vote in the last 48 hours.” Harsh words for supposed allies.
Meanwhile, HRC chief Solmonese is going to have some explaining to do. In February he promised donors DADT would be dead this year, thanks in part to his organization’s efforts. Democratic leadership has made similar promises to LGBT Americans.