Thursday, December 9, 2010


(Updated below)

I'm afraid I can't help anyone understand what's up with Harry Reid pushing a vote on the Defense Authorization bill, including DADT repeal, that he knew was going to fail, despite what appeared to be continuing good faith negotiations with moderate Republican Senators.

What Greg Sargent had been reporting is that Susan Collins was negotiating for has been more time to debate the bill, more amendments, and, as Senatus tweeted, GOP freedom to offer the amendments they wanted.  It seemed, yesterday, that they were moving towards an agreement -- and it seems on the face of it that such an agreement is possible -- but then, for unknown reasons, Reid brought the bill to the floor.  Or, to be more precise, tried unsuccessfully to bring it to the floor.  It was defeated, with Republicans who have said that they want to vote for repeal opposing Reid's motion. 

As I write this, no one seems to have an explanation for why Reid brought this to the floor today, or what his next step on the bill might be.  As I said earlier today, there's still plenty of time to do this one.  Does Reid believe that Republicans were not negotiating in good faith, so there was no point in going forward?  Is there some particular amendment that Reid is trying to prevent from being offered in order to protect Democratic Senators?  Is he planning multiple votes?  Did he think that when push came to shove they would vote with him, and it didn't work?  I'm a little baffled.


OK, Greg Sargent continues his terrific reporting on this, but I'm still baffled.  Sargent:
The aide rejected the claim that Reid should have extended the session another week in order to accomodate GOP procedural demands, as Joe Lieberman and others had asked, arguing that extended debate would actually have dragged the session into January, what with other things on the Senate to-do list.
Read the whole thing.  It's good reporting, but I still don't understand Reid's thinking.  Yes, Republicans could have dragged things out until January...but so what, if ultimately it gets done before the clock runs out?  And what exactly is the downside if they try and just can't quite finish? 

Meanwhile, Mark Udall just went to the Senate floor and said he'd like to see either another bite at this, or an attempt to bring back DADT as a standalone bill.  Reid's office apparently believes that, too, could be blocked, but I'm not really sure why they believe that, if there are really 60 votes for it and, say, ten calendar days remain after the rest of their business gets done. 


  1. Whatever the reason may be, you'll forgive me for feeling nothing but unmitigated disgust that an unpopular, discriminatory and rankly unjust policy seems to have survived thanks to the vagaries of the Senate. Reid's fault? The GOP's? It scarcely seems to matter.

    What a happy, proud day to be a gay American.

  2. He has to be able to say he tried, right?

    I suspect "moderate" Rs have been encouraged to negotiate to their hearts content as long as they never actually reach agreement (see Snowe and ACA).

  3. This is nothing by Democratic symbolism voting so they can gather their fig leaves, pat the gays on the head and say, well, we tried, no go away. But remember us at the next HRC dinner- there we just love you to death, not to mention all the money we can hoover up from your city and cart back to DC.

  4. Waldo,

    I really disagree with that. It's surely possible that Reid and others have screwed this up as far as strategy and tactics go -- but it's the Republicans blocking this, not the Dems.

  5. Why isn't anyone talking about Mitch McConnell's influence in this? An alternate, simple explanation for yesterday's events is that McConnell has declared the defense authorization bill a party-line vote. If that's the case, then negotiation with moderate Republicans is pointless and Reid might as well call a vote, get it overwith and move to Plan B.


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