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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Harry Reid vows votes on DADT, DREAM - Scott Wong -

Harry Reid vows votes on DADT, DREAM - Scott Wong -
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) vowed Wednesday night to hold votes during the lame-duck session on two bills previously blocked by Republicans before the midterm elections: the repeal of the ban on gays openly serving in the military and the immigration bill known as the DREAM Act.
Top aides to both Reid and President Barack Obama told gay-rights activists Wednesday that the two Democratic leaders are “committed” to bringing the defense authorization bill, which includes language repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, to the floor after next week’s Thanksgiving recess.
Among the White House officials present at the meeting were Jim Messina, deputy chief of staff, and Phil Schiliro, director of legislative affairs, as well as Reid Chief of Staff David Krone, and Reid’s senior counsel, Serena Hoy, according to the gay-rights groups.
“Our Defense Department supports repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ as a way to build our all-volunteer armed forces,” Reid said in a statement Wednesday night. “We need to repeal this discriminatory policy so that any American who wants to defend our country can do so.”
In a separate statement, Reid pledged to bring the DREAM Act to the floor as a stand-alone bill. The legislation provides a path to citizenship for young illegal immigrants who complete two years of college or military service.
Led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Senate Republicans blocked both pieces of legislation when Reid and other Democrats tried to attach them to the defense authorization bill in late September. And GOP leaders don’t appear to have warmed to the proposals since the Nov. 2 election.

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