Democrats are considering cramming as many as 20 pieces of legislation into the lame-duck session they plan to hold after the Nov. 2 election.
The array of bills competing for floor time shows the sense of urgency among Democratic lawmakers to act before the start of the 112th Congress, when Republicans are expected to control more seats in the Senate and House.
But, given the slow pace of the Senate, it also all but guarantees that Democrats will be hard-pressed to pass even a small part of their lame-duck agenda.
Um, exactly. So, what’s included in that long list of legislation:
Democratic leaders have also prioritized the defense authorization bill, which includes a repeal of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that bans gays from serving openly in the military.
No mention of ENDA. That bill isn’t on anyone’s radar screen.
The next hurdle is, of course, the elections. If Democrats have losses, expect many in that party to shy away from anything viewed as “controversial.” Even President Obama thinks DADT repeal isn’t “good politics.” After all, support for repeal only hovers around 75% – 80%.
Even if the Defense Authorization bill manages to get through the Senate with the compromise DADT language intact (highly unlikely), we still have to make it through the House-Senate conference. And, that will all play out in December — after the Pentagon issues its DADT repeal report. Who knows how that will impact things.
So, we’ve got many pitfalls if legislative repeal of DADT is to become a reality this year. And, if it doesn’t happen by the end of December, we’re going to be in a for a long, long wait. The Courts provide a better option. I’m not hopeful, despite the promise made last week by Deputy Chief of Staff, soon-to-be campaign manager, Jim Messina.
If I’ve learned anything from observing the White House and Democrats in Congress over the past 21 months, it’s that political homophobia is a huge problem. It’s one of the biggest impediments to our equality.
When Congress goes home this week, my sense is that they’ll pretty much be done with the progressive agenda for this session. That means no DADT repeal and no ENDA. We were filled with such high hopes at the start of 2009. This was our time. But, it wasn’t.