The Senate will make a procedural vote today on the defense authorization bill, but how the vote goes will likely have major implications for the DREAM Act and the future of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. If Republicans are successful in filibustering the bill from moving to the floor, the efforts might be dead.
Whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has the votes to proceed is still unknown — Reid is “hopeful,” his spokesman told TWI in an email — but he plans to proceed with the bill this week anyway.
The defense authorization bill has been passed for the past 48 consecutive years and is expected to pass if Democrats can break a filibuster by Republicans and get it to the floor. But that’s a big “if.” While Maine Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are reportedly on the fence, other Republicans are expected to vote against bringing the bill to the floor.
Reid’s plans to add the DREAM Act and a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to the bill upped the stakes for the bill, but they also have brought significant opposition from Republicans. Some argue the plans are bad policy, because the military has not yet completed its study on how a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would impact troop readiness. Others, though, oppose the measures because they argue Reid is simply playing politics with the defense bill.
If Reid gets the votes, the Senate will likely have to put the bill aside during its pre-election recess and take it up again after November.