Thursday, November 18, 2010
Lieberman on DADT: We Have 60 | News | The Advocate
Sen. Joe Lieberman said Thursday that repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” as part of the National Defense Authorization Act is no longer a question of votes, it’s a question of process.
“I am confident that we have more than 60 votes prepared to take up the defense authorization with the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ if only there will be a guarantee of a fair and open amendment process, in other words, whether we’ll take enough time to do it,” Lieberman told reporters at a press conference, naming GOP senators Susan Collins and Richard Lugar as yes votes. “Time is an inexcusable reason not to get this done.”
Lieberman, an independent, was flanked by 12 of his Democratic colleagues — a core group that seemed intent on urging the Democratic leadership to allow enough room in the Senate schedule for a debate that would be acceptable to Republicans. The senators talked about working over the weekends, and Sen. Mark Udall offered to go straight through until Christmas Eve.
Lieberman noted that two items could be negotiated by Senate majority leader Harry Reid and minority leader Mitch McConnell — the number of amendments to be considered and the amount of time for debate on those amendments.
Full and open debate on the bill could take as long as two weeks, but an agreement between Reid and McConnell could shave that down to just one week. Regardless, given that other bills will eat up some of the remaining days, providing some sort of open amendment process will likely require that senators stay past the targeted adjournment date of December 10 until at least December 17.