Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today that it is his “goal” to pass the Defense Authorization bill — and with it, repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — in the Senate’s lame-duck session, but warned that it’ll be a tough squeeze.
According to The Hill, Reid said today that being able to pass the massive, traditionally must-pass funding bill will depend on Republican cooperation and support.
“The problem we have with the defense authorization bill is that it takes a while to get done,” he said. “If we can get some agreement from the Republicans that we can move the bill without a lot of extraneous amendments, I think it’s something we could work out. That would be my goal.”
Republicans, including the pro-repeal Log Cabin Republicans, have argued that the bill is so large and complex that they need to be able to offer amendments. Part of the reason a cloture motion to begin debate on the bill in September failed, they say, is because Reid would not allow any amendments.
Reid also said Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), chair of the Armed Services Committee, is “anxious” to pass the bill.
The Senate reconvenes Nov. 15. President Obama today also reiterated his commitment to get DADT repealed in the lame-duck session, noting that it may be easier to get Republican support after the Pentagon completes its policy review in early December.
Complicating things is the fact that the Senate has a lot of other work to squeeze into the lame-duck session, including whether to extend the Bush-era tax cuts. And in the new Congress beginning next year, Democrats will have fewer votes to count on to pass any legislation.