Reid Might Find Opening for ‘Don’t Ask’ Repeal Wednesday

Posted December 7, 2010 at 9:34pm

A repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay service members could be back on the Senate floor as early as Wednesday morning if Republicans block a series of other measures, including an immigration bill, Democratic aides said Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has scheduled cloture votes for Wednesday on a host of bills opposed by Republicans, including the DREAM Act immigration bill, a 9/11 firefighters measure and a firefighters unionization bill.

With President Barack Obama’s tax cut deal with Republicans running into stiff Democratic resistance and a long-term continuing resolution for government spending still days away, if Republicans filibuster those bills as expected, the chamber will not have any pending business.

As a result, Democratic aides said, Reid could opt to return the defense authorization bill to the floor, which includes the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

It is unclear whether Democrats would have enough votes to break a filibuster on that bill — a number of Republicans support repeal, while some Democrats oppose it.

But even if he does have the votes, Reid could be forced to drop the issue altogether once his Caucus comes to terms with the tax cut deal. With less than two weeks until the Senate is expected to adjourn, Republican opponents could drag out the DADT debate for days, eating up time needed to pass the tax cuts and continuing resolution before Christmas.

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.