While everyone is running around predicting when the FIRST TEST VOTE for the Defense Authorization Bill (the vehicle for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal) will happen. Lets look at the sealing being the scene to see if a FINAL vote really does have a chance of happening and whats standing in the way.
The answer to part of that is simple. Whats standing in the way is Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). Collins who’ popularity in Maine is at an all time low due to her obstructionist and is looking at a hard re-election in 2012 for her key role in the obstructionist republican party power plays has been playing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Democrats with demands of what she needs to to support a full Senate debate on the defense authorization bill (after the test vote): 15 guaranteed votes on amendments (10 for Republicans, and 5 for Democrats), and somewhere around four days to debate the bill.
Via Talking Points Memo:
“The majority leader’s allotment of time for to debate those amendments was extremely short, so I have suggested doubling the amount of time, assuring that there would be votes, and making sure that the Republicans get to pick our own amendments as opposed to the Majority Leader.”
“If he does that I will do all that I can to help him proceed to the bill. But if he does not do that, then I will not. Everyone on the Republican side wants to see the tax package completed first,” Collins said.
And it turns out that Collins’ requested that Harry Reid delayed the test vote he’d planned to hold last night also. With Collins reminding Reid that Republicans don’t want to debate anything until the tax issue is resolved. “I have urged the majority leader to postpone the vote…so that we could get the tax bill considered first — which I believe could be on the floor tomorrow — and completed by Saturday, and then move immediately to the DOD bill, but under a fair agreement. Collins warns that any test vote before the tax cut issue is resolved will fail, even if he agrees to her terms.
So even if the test vote DOES get approved the Republicans will have 4 days to debate it on the floor which would move a final vote until the end of next week and can add 10 admendents of their liking (Viagra for sex offenders) to try to kill it if the Tax Cuts Package Bill is now completed first. And there is no guarantee that even if the Tax Cuts Package IS completed before a final vote on the DADT Repeal that they won;t try to kill it.