The U.S. Senate today failed to move forward on the 2011 Defense Authorization Act, which included repeal language for the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, after supporters of the bill were unable to get the necessary 60 votes to avoid a Republican filibuster.
Republicans blocked the cloture vote over objections to the procedure of the debate.
The vote total was 57 to 40.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) took to the Senate floor moments before the vote to call for support. “In my effort to get this done, I don't know how I could have been more reasonable,” Reid said. “It's our troops that will pay the price.”
U.S. Senate again fails to move Defense Authorization Act, vote stalls ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal
“I’ve bent over backwards to find a way to get this bill done. It’s clear that Republicans don’t want to have a vote on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Republicans wanted additional time to debate amendments that would be included in the bill.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.), who was working with Reid and Independent Senator Joe Lieberman earlier in the week to find a way to pass the cloture vote, expressed frustration on the Senate floor over procedure in a dialogue with Reid.
“I am perplexed and frustrated that this important bill is going to become a victim of politics,” she said. “I do not understand why we can’t proceed along a path that will bring us to success.”
“It doesn’t matter what I do, before we get to the end of it, they change the rules again,” Reid said.
Despite her objections to procedure, Collins voted in the affirmative.
Several Republicans who publicly offered support of repeal voted “no,” including Sens. Scott Brown (R-Ma.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak.) and Richard Lugar (R-In.). Democrats were counting on limited GOP support to pass the measure.
Republicans succeeded in blocking the cloture vote in September, as well. The vote total then was 56 to 43, just four votes shy of ending the filibuster threat. It remains unclear whether the Senate will vote on the Defense Authorization Act again before the end of the lame-duck session.