We’ve been talking about the prospects for the Defense Authorization bill for the last couple weeks. So far, there hasn’t been any news that leads us to believe we’ll see action on that bill over the next couple weeks. That could be a disaster for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. And, the bad news continues from The Hill:
The uncertainty over the 2011 defense authorization measure is prompting gay rights groups to up their pressure on senators and party leaders to take up the bill. The legislation contains a provision that would repeal the military’s ban on openly gay service members, known as “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”
The activists want to see the Senate take up the 2011 defense authorization bill the week of Sept. 20. Otherwise, they fear that the much-awaited repeal of the Clinton-era law may be stopped in its tracks. If the bill doesn’t move in September and slides into the period after the election, Republicans have made it clear they will only agree to a continuing resolution to keep funding the Defense Department.
If that continuing resolution gets carried into next year, a new defense bill would have to be written under a new Congress. Getting a repeal passed through both chambers in the next session would be difficult: Republicans, who mostly oppose repeal, could win a majority in the House this November and gain seats in the Senate.
Congressional sources contacted by the Hill are already intimating that the Senate will not take up the authorization bill until after the midterm elections. Until then, the top priorities for Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other leading Democrats are likely to be the economy and jobs.
From what I’ve been hearing from a range of sources, this article is pretty much on target.
And, yes, McCain is threatening a filibuster. Fine. Call his bluff. Make the Republicans vote on a filibuster of the defense bill while we’re fighting two wars.