By JOSH GERSTEIN & SCOTT WONG | 9/21/10 12:08 PM EDT An effort to repeal... more »
By JOSH GERSTEIN & SCOTT WONG | 9/21/10 12:08 PM EDT
An effort to repeal the military's "don't ask don't tell" policy went down to defeat Tuesday afternoon, with Senate Democrats and Republicans squaring off in a procedural vote.
In the face of a promised filibuster by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Democrats could not convince a single GOP senator to cross over and provide the 60th vote needed to begin debate on a defense spending bill containing the repeal measure. The vote to open debate failed, 56-43, with Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) joining all Republicans in opposing taking up the bill.
The Senate's failure to bring the bill to the floor scuttled what repeal advocates viewed as their best hope of ending the policy written into law in 1993 under President Bill Clinton. Congressional aides and lobbyists following the issue said it was unlikely lawmakers would complete repeal during a lame-duck session or in the next Congress, where Republicans are expected to win a number of seats and therefore have greater control of the agenda.