Senate majority leader Harry Reid may bring to a vote today the National Defense Authorization Act with “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal attached, according to a Senate Democratic aide.
Democrats might make use of a narrow window of down time if the four bills scheduled for a vote today 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 a source familiar with the negotiations said the White House had begun to engage on the issue and President Barack Obama intends to make calls to key GOP targets.
The vote would merely be a procedural vote to move to debate on the defense bill and does not guarantee final passage of the legislation or the repeal provision that's attached. Nonetheless, advancing the bill to the Senate floor would be a major victory, but whether the 60 votes can even be found to beat a Republican filibuster is still in question. Every member of the GOP caucus has signed a letter stating they would not consider any other bills until government funding and extending the Bush-era tax cuts had been passed. Government funding was extended once but needs to be addressed again by Dec. 17, and the tax issue remains outstanding.
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