In it, but not of it. TPM DC
Other Republicans want two weeks of debate as well -- including moderate members who say they'll support repeal but only if the process meets their specifications.
But a senior Democratic aide went back 20 years and found that spending two weeks on the defense authorization bill is a rarity.
Since 1990, the Senate has never spent anywhere close to four or five weeks debating that bill. Four times its taken longer than seven days -- thus approaching or exceeding the two week threshold.
The Senate has spent five days (or fewer) debating the defense authorization bill nine times. And, once, back in the friendly days when Bill Clinton presided over majorities in the House and Senate, it took one day. On average, the process includes votes on about 12 amendments -- though sometimes they vote on as many as 20 or 30 or as few as one or two.
Given all this, Democrats are steamed.
"Let's remember that when we first voted on the bill in September there were no limitations on debate or amendments and Republicans still blocked it," says a Senate Democratic leadership aide. "Now, with another chance to vote on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the GOP is demanding one to two weeks. They know full well that we don't have that kind of time left on the calendar but it remains their enduring excuse for not voting for a repeal of this law that our senior military officials and a vast majority of Americans want."