Rookie Republican senator Scott Brown has now put proponents of overturning the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy governing gay service members over the 60-vote margin needed to prevent a filibuster in the upper chamber.
With all but one of the 58 Democrats and 2 other Republicans supporting the bill introduced by Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), a repeal of don't ask don't tell is looking increasingly likely:
Brown’s backing means that – on paper – supporters of the repeal have 61 senators in favor of the bill. On Wednesday Republicans Olympia Snowe of Maine and Lisa Murkowski both announced their support for the stand-alone repeal. The House passed the clean repeal on Wednesday and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has vowed to bring it to a vote in the Senate before the end of the year.
However, Reid has warned that bringing the bill to a vote in the Senate is not an issue of support, but rather of time. With just over a week before Christmas, the Senate is only now kicking off debate on the START nuclear treaty and a massive $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill. It will likely be early next week before the Senate wraps up work on those two measures – and numerous GOP senators have voiced stern opposition to both bills, preferring instead to fund the government into early next year and go home for the holidays. That leaves little time for the Senate to pass the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal. [...]
Last week Reid brought the repeal – attached to the annual defense authorization bill – to a vote in the Senate, but it failed by three votes. At that time, Snowe, Murkowski, and Brown all voted against the measure on procedural grounds, arguing that more time should have been provided for amendments and debate.
Now, if the repeal is to pass, Reid has made clear that it will have to be done quickly and Republican supporters of repeal will have to put aside their desires for more time and debate on the bill.