NBC reported early this afternoon:
As of late this morning, it's still unclear if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has the 60 votes needed to start debate on a bill that would include a repeal of the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.
The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT)" language is tucked inside the larger Defense Authorization bill. The vote on "the motion to proceed" to the bill is scheduled for Tuesday at 2:15p.
Moderate Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, who often vote with Democrats on social issues, remain undecided on how they'll vote. As a member of Armed Services Committee, Collins voted with Democrats to include DADT in the defense bill.
In the following statement just released by Olympia Snowe, the Maine senator doesn't explicitly say she's voting against cloture on the Defense Authorization bill, but she seems to want to wait until the Pentagon releases its review of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" on December 1 to vote on the bill that would repeal the law regarding gays in the military:
“First and foremost, the Senate should have the ability to debate more than the three amendments the Majority Leader is allowing, especially as this bill is the largest discretionary authorization measure that Congress considers, that the bill describes the policies and programs that provide resources and direction to the nearly 2.4 million men and women of the military – active, reserve and civilians, including the courageous Americans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that two of the three amendments don’t even relate to the military. It is therefore imperative that Senate deliberations on the defense bill be conducted without limitations and in a manner that allows for the consideration of all related amendments that Senators may wish to offer.
“Moreover, as I have previously stated, given that the law implementing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has been in place for nearly 17 years, I agree that it is overdue for a thorough review. The question is, whether we should be voting on this issue before we have the benefit of the comprehensive review that President Obama’s Secretary of Defense ordered in March, to secure the input of our men and women in uniform during this time of war – as the Joint Chiefs of Staff from all of the services have requested prior to any vote. We should all have the opportunity to review that report which is to be completed on December 1, as we reevaluate this policy and the implementation of any new changes.”