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Stay Tuned – ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and DREAM Act Votes In Senate Today

| On 18, Dec 2010

The fate of the DREAM Act and the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy hangs in the balance of the U.S. Senate today.

We have a little bit of breaking news on this Saturday. The U.S. Senate is working on Capitol Hill today .. ::gasp:: .. and they are trying to knock out two important pieces of legislation for the Obama Administration.

The Senate is set to vote on the stand-alone ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. They will also weigh in on the DREAM Act (or Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2010) to allow illegal immigrants who complete two years of college or military service to receive a pathway to U.S. citizenship.

Here’s the quick and dirty that you need to know for this somewhat historic legislative weekend in Washington, D.C.

  1. Both DREAM Act and DADT are up for a cloture vote first. This is a vote that says, “Hey, you have 30 more hours to debate this then you must give it a final vote.” They need 60 votes (2/3 of the Senate) in the cloture vote to head to a final debate and vote.
  2. The DREAM Act will probably not get the 60 cloture votes today to take it to a final debate and vote. So, consider this bill D.O.A. until the next Congress revives it. (And trust me, they probably won’t).
  3. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ has a brighter future. The bill will get the 60 cloture votes it needs to go to final debate and vote. How do they know this? Well, 61 senators have already said they will vote YES on the final piece of legislation. This means they will vote YES to end the military’s ban on gays and lesbians serving openly. This is a major win for gay rights activists and will finally put the issue to somewhat of a rest.
  4. Once DADT gets the 60 cloture votes it needs there will be the (up to) 30 hours of debate, per Senate procedure. We could see a final DADT vote today or as late as Sunday. It all depends on how long the Senate wants to debate this.
  5. The Senate usually never works on Saturdays. The second coming of Christ should be momentarily. They’ve done more work in the past two weeks than they’ve done since the healthcare debates in March. I might be kinda proud of them, only if they weren’t career procrastinators.

A lot of people thought these issues were already done, but that was only because they passed in the House of Representatives (click here and here). We still have a few more steps in the process.

I will be posting updates on the votes this weekend as time permits. Hopefully, this post can help you understand in SIMPLE TERMS exactly what is happening on Capitol Hill right now.

Have a safe weekend!

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