The Washington Examiner reports:
Senate Democrats Monday were scrambling to come up with enough votes to block a GOP filibuster of a bill that would repeal the policy prohibiting gays from serving openly in the military.
The measure that would end the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” law is attached to the $726 billion defense authorization bill that is scheduled for a critical test vote Tuesday afternoon. The legislation is essential for setting the Pentagon’s spending levels for next year, but it may stall, according to a top senator.
Republicans have blasted the “Don’t Ask” provision along with two other controversial amendments Democrats want to include in the bill — one that would provide a path to citizenship for children who came to the United States illegally, and another that would allow abortions in U.S. military hospitals.
“I don’t know if the votes are there,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., admitted to reporters Monday. “I hope they are.”
The committee’s top Republican, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is leading the opposition against the repeal of “Don’t Ask.” He told The Washington Examiner, “I will do everything I can” to block its passage. McCain said he is opposed to the measure because he believes it pre-empts a Pentagon survey of military personnel on the impact of lifting the ban that is due in December.
“I feel very strongly that we should wait and not take any action on this controversial issue until we hear from our troops on what they think the impact of repeal would be,” McCain said on the Senate floor.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., may have to come up with at least two GOP votes to reach the 60 needed to begin debate on the bill. Democrats control just 59 votes and Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., remained undecided Monday, according to his spokesman, Will Jenkins.
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