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Posted at 12:55 PM ET, 12/10/2010

Dear moderate GOP Senators: Moderate GOP voters want DADT repealed

By Greg Sargent

This point can't be made enough times, so I'm going to make it again. With Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins vowing to introduce a stand-alone bill to repeal don't ask don't tell, the outstanding question -- as always -- is whether the handful of moderate Republicans who say they support repeal will make good on their word and actually vote for it.

So let's reiterate: The only group in this country that opposes repeal are self-described conservative Republicans. According to a new Gallup poll, self-described moderate Republicans strongly support repeal:

dadtgallup.JPG

Republicans overall are evenly divided on repeal, 47-48. But the opposition among them is entirely driven by conservatives. Sixty-nine percent of moderate and liberal Republicans favor repeal, putting them in line with every other group, including independents (70 percent) and conservative Democrats (79 percent).

Conservative Repubilcans are all by their lonesome on this issue, opposing repeal 57-39. And a recent Pew poll found precisely the same divide, with 62 percent of moderate or liberal Republicans favoring repeal. It's overwhelmingly clear at this point how extreme a position opposing repeal really is.

On the DADT issue, the GOP caucus as a whole is only acting on behalf of extreme conservative voters. Self-described "moderate" Republican Senators are ignoring the will of a huge chunk of genuinely moderate voters in their own party, not to mention majorities of the service-members themselves. GOP Senators who delight in thinking of themselves as "moderates" are going to have one more chance to do the right thing, and if they don't, maybe it's time to stop calling them by that name.

By Greg Sargent  | December 10, 2010; 12:55 PM ET
Categories:  Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, gay rights  
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Comments

Greg,

That poll does not matter, because it is not an issue that Republican voters will care enough about, at election time. Of course "Moderate GOP Voters" is some what of an oxymoron these days. They will be ignored.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Greg, yesterday, Lieberman said they would introduce bill 4022 using "Rule 14," so it could bypass the committee and be sent directly to the Senate floor at some point.

However, I looked at THOMAS (the Congressional database), and it says that this bill was

12/9/2010:
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services.
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:SN04022:@@@X

From what I can gather, this means they didn't invoke Rule 14. With Rule 14, the bill isn't "read twice and referred" -- the readings must be objected to (which allows it to not be referred to committee and be sent to the Senate floor).

For example, earlier this year, the Disclose Act was indeed introduced by Rule 14. This is what THOMAS says about that act:

7/21/2010:
Introduced in the Senate. Read the first time. Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under Read the First Time.
7/22/2010:
Read the second time. Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 476.
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:SN03628:@@@X

And if you look at the Congressional Record, it shows that Reid objected to the reading of the Disclose act, which allowed it to avoid going to committee. This is exactly how Rule 14 is supposed to work:

"Senate Rule XIV, para. 4, states: “... and every bill and joint resolution introduced on leave, and every bill and joint resolution of the House of Representatives which shall have received a first and second reading without being referred to a committee, shall, if objection be made to further proceeding thereon, be placed on the Calendar.”

But no one objected to the reading of S.4022 -- it was read twice and referred to committee by unanimous consent. So from what I can tell, S. 4022 now has to get a committee vote, and can't get sent directly to the floor by Rule 14. I can't see how this passes this session if it has to go through the committee process -- can you?

Posted by: JonShields1 | December 10, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Liam. This is all well and good -- and it is -- but your best bet is lobbying the political media to do their freaking jobs.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 10, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Greg writes:

"House Dems are particularly incensed over the estate tax provisions, which sets a far more generous exemption and lower maximum rate than Dems wanted."


________________________

This is an illogical position for the democrats to take.


Most estates taxes can be handled through family trusts - planning.

The communities most affected by the estate tax are minorities - who do not do their estate planning, and do not utilize the trusts to the extent which is available.

So, clearly, the democrats should have the OPPOSITE position.


Again, the marxist, class warfare rhetoric is tripping up the democrats.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 10, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

WHEN did the liberals EVER care about polling before???

On the health care bill, numerous polls stated clearly that the American People did NOT want the health care bill.


NOW after that fiasco, the nation is all of a sudden supposed to ROLL OVER FOR THE LIBERALS BECAUSE THEY HAVE SOME POLL NUMBERS???

Give everyone a break, this line of talking points is ridiculous.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 10, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: "GOP Senators who delight in thinking of themselves as "moderates" are going to have one more chance to do the right thing."

You can't honestly blame them for yesterday's vote! They told Reid ahead of time they would vote against cloture unless the tax deal was resolved first. C,mon now!

Posted by: sbj3 | December 10, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

JonShields1 at 1:07 PM


YOU caught them. They are "full of it."


They are telling you that they want to push through a stand-alone measure, just to mute the outcry from the gay community, but you caught them, and it appears they aren't doing that.


That was a really good catch - very perceptive.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 10, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Interesting question on Rule 14, Jon. I was trying to sort this out myself. Anyone?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 10, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

sbj, I think we can blame everyone. Reid should perhaps have given them everything they want. But they should not be making doing the right thing contingent on their procedural demands, particularly when Reid did offer them some, if not all, of what they were asking for.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 10, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Irrelevant. The GOP won't allow Dems or the WH a victory.

I wonder what percent of Republicans were for the 9/11 responders bill that the GOP killed yesterday? I'd guess a large majority of them. If they (Republicans) didn't care about that, after spending years using the 9/11 supporters as political props, what makes you think they'll care about this?

PS - This quote from the commenter above made me laugh out loud, "You can't honestly blame them for yesterday's vote! They told Reid ahead of time they would vote against cloture unless the tax deal was resolved first." There is so much unintentional funny in those two sentences...

Posted by: HansSolo | December 10, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

You can't honestly blame them for yesterday's vote! They told Reid ahead of time they would vote against cloture unless the tax deal was resolved first. C,mon now!

Posted by: sbj3 | December 10, 2010 1:15 PM

So, it's all Reid's fault still sbj? You're ok with the GOP holding everything hostage to a tax cut bonus for the top 2%?

Yesterday you said all would be fine if Reid gave Collins what she wanted. Collins voted YES but the rest of the GOP still filibustered. But it's still Reid's fault?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | December 10, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Whoops, that was supposed to read, "9/11 responders," not, "9/11 supporters."

Posted by: HansSolo | December 10, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: I think you are backing away from your previously-held views.

You once suggested that Reid should give them what they wanted because having a chance to repeal DADT was the most important thing.

You once suggested that repeal of DADT was "largely" up to Reid and Obama.

Now you want to apportion blame equally?

Posted by: sbj3 | December 10, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

@prag: "So, it's all Reid's fault still sbj?"

Why yes. 100%

I'm okay with the GOP making sure we don't get a tax increase come January.

"Yesterday you said all would be fine if Reid gave Collins what she wanted."

He did not agree to four days of debate.

"Collins voted YES but the rest of the GOP still filibustered."

Not clear why Collins voted Yes (other than it was no-risk in that she knew the filibuster would hold) but the GOP delivered on their promise.

Why do you think gay activists and supporters of repeal did NOT want Reid to go ahead with the vote?

Posted by: sbj3 | December 10, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

At most, 3 or 4 GOP Senators will vote to invoke cloture on the repeal of DADT and sbj thinks the GOP is not to blame if the bill fails.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | December 10, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Abraham Lincoln should have granted massive tax cuts to the southern slave owners, and then the Southern Politicians would have voted to emancipate all the slaves, and the civil war would have been avoided.

At least, that is what I get out of SBJ's support for Republican Senators voting to treat gay people like sub-humans, until they get tax cuts for the American Oligarchs.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

@prag: "So, it's all Reid's fault still sbj?"

SBJ has a Jim DeMint in his head that prevents him from thinking clearly. He's a lost cause.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 10, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm okay with the GOP making sure we don't get a tax increase come January.

Who is we?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | December 10, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

sbj3, I see where you are coming from. I think Reid did not want to give Collins the 4 days, but he should have.

However, I can at least see why Reid didn't want to give the 4 days. As Greg pointed out, Coburn and Demint would not have been part of that agreement. They would have forced 60 hours of postcloture time (some for proceeding and some for passing), then the gigantic bill would have to go to the House for conference on the gigantic bill (which in the past has taken months), then they would have a chance to do the same procedural shenanigans on the conference report (slowing it down even more).

So if Reid granted the 4 days, it probably wouldn't have finished by January 5th, and then the Republicans could blame Reid for running out of time. At least this way, it's clear to all who caused it to fail.

Posted by: JonShields1 | December 10, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

At most, 3 or 4 GOP Senators will vote to invoke cloture on the repeal of DADT and sbj thinks the GOP is not to blame if the bill fails.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | December 10, 2010 1:33 PM

............

Yes indeed. SBJ has the right take on it. Harry Reid has done a terrible job of leading the Republican Senate Caucus.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

@jon: "I think Reid did not want to give Collins the 4 days, but he should have."

Here, fixed it for ya:

"I think Reid did want to give Collins the 4 days, but he shouldn't have."

You want something - anything - done in this lame duck session? Then you DON'T allow neoconfederate conservatives to run out the clock. Simple as that.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 10, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I wish the left had saved their energy and voice for overthrowing DADT. We all knew months ago that there would have to be a compromise on Bush's tax bill, so this anger seems like rehearsed hysterics: nothing more than a loud shot over the bow against triangulation as the Republicans take control of the House.

Now that overthrowing DADT could happen, the left have already spent their public collateral for the lame duck session on a fight that they never would win.

Overturning DADT is a battle that we could win. And I remain a disillusioned independent, not with the White House but with the left's inability to recognize and focus on important progressive issues. Nobody remembers the tax fights of the 1960s.

Posted by: Beeliever | December 10, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Since 'liberal and moderate' Republicans vote with Conservative Republicans to refuse to allow bills to come up for a vote, what is the difference between them?

I mean, they support many bills, but will not agree to let anyone vote on them!?!

Posted by: AMviennaVA | December 10, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Not clear why Collins voted Yes (other than it was no-risk in that she knew the filibuster would hold) but the GOP delivered on their promise.

Posted by: sbj3 | December 10, 2010 1:33 PM

But it's Reid that's playing games and the GOP that's being honest.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | December 10, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

@jonshields: But Reid was ready to give them two days of debate. Are you saying that those delays would be impossible given two days but would be possible given four days?

I don' thin' so.

Posted by: sbj3 | December 10, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Ethan and Jon


the only explanation on Rule 14 is they are lying - they are not going to try to have another vote on Dont Ask

At this point, all the tax issues and the unemployment benefits are ALL up in the air - and that has to be worked out.


And they all want to leave Washington in one week. did you forget the calendar?

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 10, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

So how many Republicans will vote for it sbj? After 2 days of debate .... after 4 days? After 2 years? How many sbj?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | December 10, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

sbj3, it wasn't just 4 days. Collins demanded that it not be considered until the tax bill passed. That would be mid next week. If Collins agreed to debate Thursday and Friday, with filibuster-overcoming-procedures on Saturday/Sunday, then I think it would have been theoretically possible (though still unlikely) to get it conferenced with the House and passed (if they stayed in session through till December 24 or later).

But Collins wanted 4 days AFTER the tax bill. This means that Republicans will have an incentive to run out the clock not just on DADT, but on the tax bill also. So they could have prevented a vote on the tax bill in that case until Wednesday. That means Collins wasn't just asking for 4 days -- she was asking for 4 specific days (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday the 18th). There is no way the whole defense bill could have been been conferenced and passed again with that timeframe.

Posted by: JonShields1 | December 10, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Sure; why not give Republican Senators all the time in the world to debate if people's gay sons, daughters, nephews, nieces, co-workers, etc, are really human beings.

SBJ wants them to have a grand old time doing just that.

I am sure that if they finally decide that he in not a real human being, he will accept and respect their decision.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

RainForestRising, the only way DADT could pass is if they extend the session after the 17th. IF they extended the date after the 17th, and if they used rule 14, and if they had 60 votes, they could in theory just say "The Senate will be in session until this bill passes." With 60 determined votes, that can happen (since the House can just pass the standalone bill verbatim within a few hours of Senate passage).

That would give Republicans an incentive to go home rather than miss Christmas and still have it pass anyway. (They did something similar for Healthcare -- they allowed the final vote to occur hours earlier than it would have, since they wanted to go home for Christmas.)

Posted by: JonShields1 | December 10, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

All, AFSCME picks big fight with Glenn Beck:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/afscme_versus_glenn_beck.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 10, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

@jon: So they could have passed Defense Authorization but that wouldn't have left anytime for the tax bill?

Posted by: sbj3 | December 10, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

sjb, no. That is not what I'm saying.

Collins demanded that they not debate the Defense bill UNTIL the tax bill was passed. So there would have been time for the tax bill (she demanded it). But then, Republican Senators would delay the tax bill to eat up clock, so they wouldn't be able to vote on the Tax bill until Wednesday.

Then Reid would have moved to reconsider the Defense bill vote from September, and it would have (in theory) gotten 60 votes. Then Demint or Coburn alone could have forced 30 hours of debate before they finally VOTE on the motion to proceed. Then, the 4 days (on Thursday) would presumably begin. Thursday the 16th, Friday the 17th, Saturday the 18th, and Sunday the 19th.

Then (in theory), cloture would be invoked on the 19th. Then Coburn/Demint could force the Senate to debate another 30 hours, with a vote on final passage on Monday the 20th or Tuesday the 21st (depending on when they finish on Sunday). That simply does not leave time to conference the Defense bill with the House, with more procedural shenanigans and final votes in both Houses before January 5th.

If, on the other hand, Reid got his way (2 days before the tax bill), the bill could be passed by this weekend and conference could begin WHILE the tax bill/continuing resolution was debated. This would at least allow a theoretical possibility of the defense bill passing before January 5th.

So there is a pretty big difference.

Posted by: JonShields1 | December 10, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

How many sbj? How many Republican Senators will vote for the bill?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | December 10, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

This graph of attitudes on gay marriage tells a stunning story (DADT is related). This is an age related issue and as the elderly voters and the people they elect start dying off the issue will vanish.
http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2009/11/05/support-for-same-sex-marriage-by-age-and-state/

Posted by: steiny1 | December 10, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

sjb, I actually forgot the continuing resolution in that timeframe. Republicans demanded that they vote on nothing before the tax bill and continuing resolution. A single Republican could have forced (if my calculations are correct) another 5 days in between the tax bill and the defense bill, meaning that a single Republican could delay the Defense bill from passing until the day AFTER Christmas.

That was why it was so important to pass the defense bill BEFORE the tax bill/continuing resolution -- and that was what Collins would never agree to.

Posted by: JonShields1 | December 10, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

However, most of the problems I mention go away for the standalone bill. Since no conference is required, and Senate passage is essentially final passage (plus a few hours for the House), that would allow Reid to simply say we will be in round the clock session until the standalone bill passes. That was not something he could say for the defense bill, since if the defense bill passed too late, the conference would have prevented it from being signed into law (so staying into Christmas wouldn't even help).

So that's why this rule 14 stuff is so important. I will be just as pissed at Reid as you are if they could have a standalone vote but end up not having it because of this rule 14 crap.

Posted by: JonShields1 | December 10, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

@jon: Thanks but that was not what I was asking (sorry for being unclear).

If the GOP had agreed to the two days of debate before the tax bill vote, then couldn't the GOP have *still* forced 60 hours of postcloture time, and *still* run the same procedural shenanigans on the conference report (slowing it down even more)? And wouldn't that mean that even if they had acceded to Reid's two days of debate that the tax bill wouldn't have had time to go through?

Posted by: sbj3 | December 10, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

@jon: Also, when Lieberman and Sargent and Kurtz (at TPM) all said that Collins' four days after tax bill was a reasonable request that was workable - they were all wrong? When the Drums and the Benens suggested an extra week in session - they were wrong?

Posted by: sbj3 | December 10, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

sjb, you are correct that the Republicans could have forced 30 hours of postcloture debate on the defense bill. But under Reid's timeline, that time would happen this Saturday and Sunday. This means that the days and days of delay Republicans could force on the tax bill and continuing resolution would not affect the chances of the defense bill passing at all, since conference would be happening simultaneously.

Then, Congress could have come back January 2nd, swooped in, and passed the conference report by January 5th. (Or come back even earlier if the conference report was ready).

Don't get me wrong -- it would still be a Herculean task to get the defense bill passed by Jan 5th even under Reid's timeline. But at least it is theoretically possible under Reid's timeline -- whereas it was not under Collins' timeline.

So the key difference is that Republican delays on the tax bill push back the defense bill under Collins' timeline until it is too late (whereas under Reid's timeline, any delays by Republicans for the tax bill/continuing resolution are irrelevant to the prospects of the defense bill).

So I grudgingly don't blame Reid very much for this state of affairs. That will change, however, if there is a reasonable path for the standalone Bill and Reid doesn't avail himself of it.

Posted by: JonShields1 | December 10, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Those previous two responses were written before your latest. As for this:

"A single Republican could delay the Defense bill from passing until the day AFTER Christmas."

SO WHAT! I don't care if these millionaires have to stay in session over the holiday. If that was our only chance to repeal DADT then Reid should have given us the chance.

I hate to get into the weeds of rule 14 and all of that but it will be interesting to see if you agree that ultimately Reid never intended for repeal to pass and he wanted all along to use failure for cynical politics. (I'm sure we all agree (?) that Reid's management of the lame duck session has been atrocious.)

Thanks for the insight.

Posted by: sbj3 | December 10, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

sbj3, I think Kurtz and Sargent were saying that 4 days would be acceptable IF it was actually just 4 days. (For example, if not just Collins, but the Republican leader agreed to a unanimous consent request for 4 days, preventing all the huge delays I have mentioned.)

I don't think they were taking into the account the fact that if Coburn or Demint or McCain didn't agree to the 4 days, the potential for huge delay would exist (making it far beyond 4 days).

Posted by: JonShields1 | December 10, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"SO WHAT! I don't care if these millionaires have to stay in session over the holiday."

Oh believe me -- I don't care either. The point is that the 26th is FAR too late to conference the bill with the House. There were large differences in many sections of the bills between the houses. Normally the conference takes months -- there is no way they could have possibly finished the conference if the bill passed the Senate as late as the 26th.

If it passed as early as December 12th? Or even the 14th? Then potentially the conference could finish in time. But for the 26th, no way.

Posted by: JonShields1 | December 10, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

@Jon: I think that if Kurtz or Sargent were NOT taking into the account the fact that if Coburn or Demint or McCain didn't agree to the 4 days, the potential for huge delay would exist, then they would be doing their readers a disservice by not understanding some essential facts quite germane to the discussion.

You seem to be saying that unanimous consent to either two or four days was the real sticking point (if we acknowledge that even Reid's best-case scenario was a herculean task)?

Posted by: sbj3 | December 10, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

@jon: "Normally the conference takes months."

Two questions - does this mean that Reid should have pulled the DADT amendment long ago?

Isn't their a way for the House to drop their bill altogether and vote on the Senate bill as is?

Posted by: sbj3 | December 10, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

@sbj: "You seem to be saying that unanimous consent to either two or four days was the real sticking point"

I've been trying to tell you that for like two days.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 10, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

@ethan: Let the grownups discuss this, dear.

Posted by: sbj3 | December 10, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

To me, one major indicator of Reid's true intentions is the distinction between his handling of DADT & DREAM.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/08/AR2010120805209.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Presumably the same logic and facts that lead the Senate Democratic leadership to pull DREAM given the near certainty that the Republicans would block cloture also applied to DADT. If I'm not mistaken, the actual timing of events yesterday was that the Democratic Senate leadership pulled DREAM first, then went forward with the DADT cloture vote which failed.

Posted by: jnc4p | December 10, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, jnc4p. I'm trying hard to understand jon's point, but I keep coming back to what you're saying. I really am trying to keep an open mind but when gay activists who really wanted this to pass were pleading with Reid to NOT bring it to a vote...

Posted by: sbj3 | December 10, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

"You seem to be saying that unanimous consent to either two or four days was the real sticking point (if we acknowledge that even Reid's best-case scenario was a herculean task)?"

Oh yeah. If Reid could have gotten a GUARANTEED 4 day debate before the tax cut bill (with no additional procedural nonsense), I think he would have accepted it in a heartbeat. As Reid's spokesperson said, "If a little more time on each amendment was all she's asking, Senator Reid would have shaken her hand and called it a deal by now."

"Isn't their a way for the House to drop their bill altogether and vote on the Senate bill as is?"

Yes, there is a way procedurally for that to happen. That's what happened on the Healthcare bill. But for institutional reasons, that would never happen here. The defense bill has huge differences with the Senate bill other than DADT. In addition, they often leave out the perfecting of the bill until conference (since they know it will have to be changed anyway), so that takes time.

Look at the Healthcare bill. After Scott Brown won, there were SCORES of progressives (completely safe electorally) who said Healthcare was absolutely dead. They would never vote for the Senate bill. This had little to do with policy -- they might have claimed it did, but in reality the differences were TINY compared to having no bill at all.

They didn't want to move on the Senate bill because of institutional reasons. The House absolutely hates the Senate with a passion (and hey, I can't really blame them), and they would view swallowing the Senate bill whole as an abdication of Constitutional responsibility. These factors are not new -- they go back decades or even more. Furthermore, these defense bills are different enough they probably wouldn't have had the votes to pass the House bill the first time around if it was identical to the Senate bill.

So while the reasons I am citing may sound ridiculous to both of us (since we obviously care a lot more about passing DADT than any of them), that doesn't mean they aren't true (unfortunately). It took 2 months for the House to move from denial to anger to bargaining and finally acceptance once they were told to swallow the Senate bill whole, and that was only AFTER they got to make their changes through reconciliation. It would never have passed if they could have made changes. I personally would have easily voted for it in the House even without changes, but the House simply doesn't think that way no matter how irrational that might seem to us. As someone once said (I forgot who), the House and Senate are essentially two completely independent legislative bodies which occasionally resolve their differences.

In any case, this house-to-house combat is not relevant to Reid's calculation. Reid knew that the House would never accept the Senate bill whole, so he knew that passing the defense bill around Christmas would be nothing more than a symbolic and hollow victory, never to see the President's pen.

Posted by: JonShields1 | December 10, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

@ethan: Let the grownups discuss this, dear.

Snort. Ouch. Too funny. I know Manchin's backtracking now, but I think Sen. Reid's decision to dump Collin's deal and move to a vote was to avoid the optics of a Democrat killing DADT, and the way he's handling the (bad)Dream Act is, IMO, proof.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 10, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Another approach for Reid would have been to make the Defense Authorization Bill the last item on the Senate calendar so any time overruns due to the debate on the amendments wouldn't impact other Senate business, i.e. the unanimous consent items.

Posted by: jnc4p | December 10, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

@jon: "Reid knew that the House would never accept the Senate bill whole, so he knew that passing the defense bill around Christmas would be nothing more than a symbolic and hollow victory, never to see the President's pen."

Whew! So I'm still safe in placing the blame on Reid. Thanks.

(Disclaimer for ethan's sake: Of course I am well aware that the GOP is - in a historical sense - largely responsible for failure to repeal.)

Posted by: sbj3 | December 10, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

@JonShields - I don't believe I've seen you post here previously (though I'm less active presently). But regardless, I do hope you continue as you are contributing a level of discourse and of knowledge which should make everyone's time here much more agreeable and fruitful.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 10, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

"This point can't be made enough times, so I'm going to make it again. With Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins vowing to introduce a stand-alone bill to repeal don't ask don't tell, the outstanding question -- as always -- is whether the handful of moderate Republicans who say they support repeal will make good on their word and actually vote for it."

Have Lieberman and Collins announced the timing for this? Presumably if it's introduced prior to the tax bill and the spending bill being completed they won't be able to achieve cloture.

Posted by: jnc4p | December 10, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

sbj3, you are correct in blaming Reid if you wanted a merely symbolic passage on December 26th that never actually got conferenced with the House or signed by the President. There might have been something he could have done to get this symbolic victory.

But I don't think it would be correct to blame Reid for not getting an actual (signed into law) victory, because there was NOTHING Reid could have done to get it passed by the House in time and signed into law, EVEN if it passed the Senate on the 26th.

"Have Lieberman and Collins announced the timing for this? Presumably if it's introduced prior to the tax bill and the spending bill being completed they won't be able to achieve cloture."

jnc4p, no timing has been announced. Reid simply promised a vote by the end of the session. If they fix this Rule 14 error by filing another bill and objecting to its reading (allowing consideration on the floor and bypassing of committees), he should have the power to force a vote. Or, if I am wrong about the Rule 14 thing, he will have the power to force a vote (with a 60-vote threshold and some days Republican delay) after the tax bill.

Posted by: JonShields1 | December 10, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

@sbj "Let the grownups discuss this, dear."

Let's see how much of a "grownup" you are...

Forget about Reid for a moment. Are you ready to admit that conservative Senators would have blocked unanimous consent, as I've been saying?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 10, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Ethan,

I don't think she would have been negotiating if she couldn't have delivered Unamimous consent from the R's. Otherwise, why would she bother, if she was negotiating in good faith. Your opinion may differ, but I offer mine sincerely.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | December 10, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

@jon: Why the heck would Lieberman say Collins was negotiating in good faith if none of it mattered anyway (symbolic)?

Posted by: sbj3 | December 10, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"Why the heck would Lieberman say Collins was negotiating in good faith if none of it mattered anyway (symbolic)?"

Because Collins herself would have been perfectly fine with a 4-day-and-then-done agreement. The problem was other Senators who wouldn't allow that in the end, not her.

Posted by: JonShields1 | December 10, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

@Jon: "The problem was other Senators who wouldn't allow that in the end, not her."

And, more importantly, NOTHING she could have done would have prevented those other Senators from gumming up HER 4-day deal.

The fact that she blames Reid for not capitulating on the 4-day deal -- despite knowing full well that this was the case -- shows that she was being disingenuous from the start.

@Troll: "I don't think she would have been negotiating if she couldn't have delivered Unamimous consent from the R's."

I appreciate your sincere view, but I sincerely disagree.

@sbj: Ready to prove that you're a grownup? All you need to do is answer my simple question: "Are you ready to admit that conservative Senators would have blocked unanimous consent, as I've been saying?"

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 10, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

@ethan: After reading everything jon has written, and reflecting on what jnc4p has written - I'm gonna stick with blaming Reid. And for good reason. But thanks for playing!

sincerely,
the grownups

PS one problem with jon's analysis, as I see it, is this:

"Because Collins herself would have been perfectly fine with a 4-day-and-then-done agreement. The problem was other Senators who wouldn't allow that."

Since this was "true" from the very start of the lame duck session, why was Reid negotiating with her? When has she stated that she tried to get UC from the GOP leadership but couldn't?

Posted by: sbj3 | December 10, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

sbj, of course Collins is not about to go state "there is no point to negotiating because my caucus has a bunch of crackpot lunatics that would object to any unanimous consent agreement," even though it is true.

Posted by: JonShields1 | December 10, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

@jon: So you, along with ethan, are accusing Collins of negotiating in bad faith, even though Lieberman contradicts you, she subsequently introduced a standalone bill, and Reid never had enough time to push the defense authorization through anyway? Sorry, after considering what Reid did with DREAM what you are contending (without evidence) makes no sense.

Posted by: sbj3 | December 10, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse


I have posted this already here before You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price check http://ow.ly/3akSX .If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and believe me you are not going to loose anything!

Posted by: dionflowers | December 11, 2010 5:33 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately Demint's state could very well be a lost cause if conservative politics continue to dominate it.

Read about how South Carolina is wallowing in poverty and crime: http://jimdemints-southcarolina.blogspot.com

Posted by: joel27 | December 11, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

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