Why immigrant, GLBT and good-government groups were behind the defense bill
Here's a question for you: Why are immigration advocates, GLBT groups and good-government types crestfallen that the defense-spending authorization bill failed to beat a Republican filibuster? "The political gridlock that has immobilized the Senate has resulted once again in a lost opportunity for the American people," said Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Immigration Policy Center. Why did she even care?
Amendments. Attached to the defense bill was legislation to rid the military of "don't ask, don't tell." That's why gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender groups are upset. The DREAM Act, which gives young undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship if they complete college or serve in the military, was slated to get a vote once the bill got to the floor. That's why immigrant groups are angry. And good-government types are bummed because there was talk of a vote on an amendment to ban secret holds.
Republicans blocked the bill because they wanted an opportunity to offer more amendments. As things stood, they were going to get a vote on taking the elimination of "don't ask" off the bill, but that was it. Senate sources say the likely plan now is probably to delay the bill till the lame-duck session, when Congress will have more time to do amendments.
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