UPDATE at 12:08 AM with additional reporting from Kerry Eleveld:
Senate majority leader Harry Reid may bring to a vote on Wednesday the National Defense Authorization Act with “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal attached, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.
Democrats might make use of a narrow window of down time if the four bills scheduled for a vote Wednesday fail to garner the 60 votes necessary to proceed to debate. Those bills include a firefighters collective bargaining bill, the DREAM Act, a 9/11 firefighters health compensation measure, and a measure extending a one-time $250 payment to senior citizens. If all fail, the NDAA could be brought to a vote by sometime Wednesday afternoon.
The strategy is still preliminary but the source said the White House had begun to engage on the issue and President Barack Obama intends to make calls to key GOP targets.
That’s the first time we’ve heard the news about Obama making calls. Makes this seem more real. And, by that, I mean the prospects for the vote seem real.
This story is breaking tonight. DADT could be on the Senate floor tomorrow. Via John Stanton at Roll Call:
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.