Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday may bring to a vote the annual defense authorization bill to which the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is attached as a provision.
The Advocate reports, “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.”
It remains unclear whether the defense spending bill can garner the 60 votes required to quash a Republican filibuster. Every Republican member of the Senate has signed a statement vowing to block debate on any other bills until legislation addressing the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts has been passed. President Obama on Tuesday signaled that he had reached a deal conceding to GOP members of Congress’ demands to extend all of the Bush tax cuts—including those for the wealthiest Americans—so that Congress might move forward on other issues in the lame-duck session, including the expiration of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. However, a bill built on that compromise must still be approved by Congress, and it faces substantial backlash from within Obama’s own Democratic party.