Senate fails to end ban on gays in military

The Senate Thursday failed to end the “don't ask don't tell” ban on gays serving openly in the military, potentially dooming the chances that Congress will repeal the policy this year or any time soon.

Senators voted 57-40 to advance the measure, three votes shy of the 60 votes they needed.

The “don't ask” provision is attached to a bill authorizing funding for the Pentagon. A deal was apparently at hand to bring the bill to the floor for debate, but talks collapsed at the last minute, prompting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to call a vote that was sure to fail.

Reid said the two sides could not agree on what amendments would be allowed or how long debate would run. Reid blamed the Republicans for demanding too much given the limited time Congress has before it adjourns next week.

“There are just not enough days on the calendar to do what the minority is asking,” Reid said.

Because much of the squabbling was over amendments to the defense authorization bill and not the “don't ask” provision, some proponents of repealing the ban believe it could pass if it is offered as a separate measure in the Senate. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said he's considering introducing such a bill.

Republicans who said they might back the repeal, including Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, said they would do so only if the Senate first passes an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts.

“This is what happens when the Republican Party decides that reauthorizing everything we do for our military is less important than making sure you get that tax break for everybody's second million,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said.

But there are also many Republicans with serious objections to the repeal, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

“This is a political exercise that I think is unworthy of the Senate,” Graham said after the vote.

Reid's decision to bring the measure to the floor surprised Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who had been working with Democrats to pass the measure. In an indication of just how tumultuous relations between Republicans and Democrats have grown, Collins rushed to the Senate floor demanding to know why Reid called for a vote without meeting any of the considerations the two sides were negotiating.

“I am perplexed and frustrated that this important bill is going to become a victim of politics,” Collins said. “We should be able to do better.”

sferrechio@washingtonexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsgaysmilitaryPolitics

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Construction in the Better Market Street Project between Fifth and Eighth streets is expected to break ground in mid-2021.<ins></ins>
SFMTA board to vote on Better Market Street changes

Agency seeks to make up for slimmed-down plan with traffic safety improvements

U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks during an event to name President-elect Joe Biden’s economic team at the Queen Theater on Dec. 1, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
Kamala Harris to resign from Senate

Bridget Bowman CQ-Roll Call Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will resign from the… Continue reading

A view of Science Hall at the City College of San Francisco Ocean campus on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
CCSF begins search for next chancellor amid new challenges

‘It’s arguably the biggest single responsibility the board has,’ trustee says

Some people are concerned that University of California, San Francisco’s expansion at its Parnassus campus could cause an undesirable increase in the number of riders on Muni’s N-Judah line.<ins></ins>
Will UCSF’s $20 million pledge to SFMTA offset traffic woes?

An even more crowded N-Judah plus increased congestion ahead cause concern

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) speaks during her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Pelosi called for the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump a day after his supporters stormed the Capitol. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
Feds seeking woman whose ex says she stole Nancy Pelosi’s laptop during Capitol riot

Jeremy Roebuck The Philadelphia Inquirer Federal authorities have obtained an arrest warrant… Continue reading

Most Read