UPDATE: Here’s the roll call vote. Five Republicans vote yes: Collins, Lugar, Murkowski, Snowe and Voinovich. Feingold was the only Democrat to vote no.
By a margin of 64 – 35, the Senate just voted to invoke cloture on the conference report for Department of Defense authorization. That means the Senate can move toward final passage of the conference report, which includes the Hate Crimes language. This was a major hurdle, basically a filibuster — and it’s been overcome. Passage in the Senate is the final step in the legislative process. (The hate crimes bill did pass, and beat a filibuster, in the last Congress, so this wasn’t completely unexpected. But, this is the first time hate crimes made it into the Dept. of Defense authorization conference report. ) This should pretty much guarantee that the bill will again pass both houses of Congress and head to the president soon for his signature.