Saturday, December 18, 2010, The Lame Duck Session:
The Senate took 2 votes today on repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the archaic discriminatory policy against gays from serving openly in the military, leftover from the Clinton administration, which Judge Virginia Phillips found unconstitutional this past September.
Both times the Senate voted to repeal DADT.
First we had the House pass getting rid of DADT as a stand – alone bill last Wednesday the 15th, 250 to 175, on a bill offered by Rep. Patrick Murphy, (D PA who was sadly not re elected) after it was not going anywhere in the Senate as part of a larger bill.
The vote to repeal picked up 15 Republicans and lost 15 Democrats, here’s the roll call #638 on Govtrack:
The first “test vote” in the Senate today was 66 – 33 to get rid of it.
The second vote passed getting rid of DADT by 65 to 31.
That 2nd vote got Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Scott Brown (Mass.) and George Voinovich of Ohio.
3 Republicans who probably did not like the bill had enough sense to just abstain from voting, as did Vichy Dem Manchin of West Virginia, who helped scuttle it earlier. Both CA Senators voted for it, the usual Republican Chickenhawk Caucus of NorCal (Lungren, Herger, McClintock) voted against it, of course.
Note that the bill has a weird title, most of them at this point do and are relying on the “and for other purposes” to be able to make it through the House and Senate during the lame duck session. Roll call here: http://www.senate.gov/legislat…
John McCain of Arizona, the maverickity 2008 GOP Presidential nominee, of course voted against it, proving once again his greatest attribute is acting too old to remember what his stance was on an issue last year. Some of the Republican Senators are now indicating they would like to scuttle ratifying the START Treaty with Russia on Nuclear safeguarding and disarmament, because the Senate actually passed something. It is unknown if they have a secret communications line to the Kremlin or N. Korea, and are capable of calling in a strike on the remaining Democrats.
The DADT repeal still has to go to the President’s desk for his signature, so we’ll get to see if he adds some sort of signing statement to it, delaying its implementation until several more excuses can be thought up to protect the tender sensibilities of the Marine Corps and the challenges they will face in coming into this century. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R, SC ), the perpetual and petulant AR reserves JAG who typically spends months crafting bipartisanshipthingee bills in the Senate and then withdraws his support at crunch time, with great glee, accused supporters of caring more about politics than governing the country.
Per Sen. Wyden, nearly 10,000 of the 14,000 soldiers forced out of the military since 1993 were language specialists, and he was alarmed by how many Arabic and Farsi linguists were discharged during this current mid east conflict. Unspoken was the impact this is having on the proceedings at Guantanamo.
But a change in the law will not automatically change the policy. Rather, the bill stipulates that the policy will only be discarded after the president, the Secretary of Defense, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that changing it will not hurt the armed services’ readiness, morale or cohesion. After a 60-day review by Congress, the Pentagon is to develop procedures for ending it altogether, a process that could take months or years to complete.