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With a legislative repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell all but assured in the Senate today, Majority Leader Harry Reid is calling on the Pentagon to immediately end the policy of discharging openly gay servicemembers.

At a press conference following the successful cloture vote on DADT repeal that will lead to a final vote on repeal this afternoon, Reid offered a simple "yes" when a reporter asked if he thinks the Pentagon should end all DADT-related investigations and discharges right away.

Earlier in the press conference, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis -- who leads a group of lawyers who defend soldiers caught up by DADT -- explained the necessity of ending the activities surrounding DADT before the policy itself comes to a formal end. That process will likely take weeks if not months -- even after President Obama signs the bill passed by the Senate today (and passed by the House Tuesday.)

[TPM SLIDESHOW: It's Over: Senate Repeals Don't Ask, Don't Tell]

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TPM caught up with Sen Scott Brown (R-MA), one of six Republicans to vote for DADT repeal today. He seemed to seek to downplay his role in helping the ban end.

Asked if he was involved in pushing more GOPers to vote aye on repeal, Brown said "no."

"It's just another vote," Brown said as a staffer hustled him downstairs.

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The Senate took a big step toward ending the military's ban on openly gay servicemembers today. By a vote of 63 to 33, the Senate voted to end debate on a bill repealing the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, opening the door for a final Senate vote on the standalone repeal bill passed by the House Tuesday. That means a simple majority of 51 Senators can now bring the legislative fight on repealing DADT to an end. That vote is expected to come -- and expected to succeed -- by the end of the weekend.

(UPDATE: The final vote is now scheduled for 3 p.m. today).

Voting with the majority of Democrats were Republicans Scott Brown (MA), Mark Kirk (IL) George Voinovich (OH), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Susan Collins (ME), and Olympia Snowe (ME). Jim Bunning (R-KY), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) were absent.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: It's Over: Senate Repeals Don't Ask, Don't Tell]

The vote will likely be seen as a major political victory for President Obama, who pushed repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell on the campaign trail and set a year-long timetable for a legislative repeal of the policy in his State Of The Union back in January. It appears he's about to get his wish.

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By a vote of 55 to 41, a cloture vote on the DREAM Act failed in the Senate this morning. That brings an end to the push for the legislation -- which would provide a pathway to legal status for illegal immigrants who serve in the military or earn college degrees -- until the 112th Congress, which will convene Jan. 5.

That Congress will have more Republicans than this one did, which doesn't bode well for the prospects of the DREAM Act passing in 2011. As expected, Republicans lined up to stop the cloture vote on DREAM, fearful of being singed by a conservative base that has zero tolerance for immigration reform beyond the type favored in the Grand Canyon State.

Ironically -- or perhaps predictably in the current Senate environment -- DREAM was a bipartisan bill when it was introduced in the Senate in 2007 by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN). Now, defeat of the bill has fallen along largely partisan lines as expected.

But there were a few who jumped ship -- Republican Sens. Dick Lugar (IN), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Bob Bennett (UT) voted yes on cloture. Democratic Sens. Mark Pryor (AR), Jon Tester (MT), Ben Nelson (NE), Kay Hagan (NC), and Max Baucus (MT) all voted no. Jim Bunning (R-KY), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) were absent.

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The Senate will act on two important pieces of President Obama's progressive legislative agenda today: the DREAM Act and the repeal of the military's ban on openly gay servicemembers. By the end of the day, the path to final passage is expected to be set for DADT repeal, while DREAM is expected to languish for another Congress to pass.

Starting at around 10:30 this morning, the Senate will take up a cloture vote on DREAM. Cloture -- voted in by a 60-senator super majority -- is required to cut off debate and move a bill to final passage in the Senate. DREAM, which would provide legal status for illegal immigrants who serve in the military or earn college degrees, is not expected to hit that mark, effectively scrapping the bill for the time being.

That will set the stage for a cloture vote on a standalone DADT repeal bill, which proponents say is destined for passage. That will be the first step toward ending the nearly two-decade practice of allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military, but not if anyone who works with them knows they're gay. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who has been the driving force behind lining up the votes for DADT repeal, says he has the 60 he needs and most observers expect there to be little drama today.

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1||December 10, 2010: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pretend to sing with an acapella group in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House during a holiday reception.

Here's more from the holiday season at the White House...||Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton&&

2||November 30: Bo, the Obama family dog, sits by a larger-than-life holiday decoration of himself in the East Garden Room of the White House. Some 80 volunteers helped create the four-foot statue, which is made of 40,000 pipe cleaners.||Official White House Photo&&

3||December 12: Glee's Matthew Morrison, Mariah Carey, Ellen DeGeneres, the First Family, and other performers sing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" onstage at the "Christmas in Washington" performance at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

4||December 12: At the "Christmas in Washington" performance at the National Building Museum. ||Newscom/Sipa&&

5||December 2: The President and First Lady take part in the Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony in the East Room of the White House.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

6||December 9: Michelle Obama reads "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" at the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

7||December 10: The President and First Lady descend the Grand Staircase as they make their way to a holiday reception on the State Floor of the White House.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

8||December 8: White House pastry chefs decorate cookies shaped like Bo, the Obama Family Dog.||Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy&&

9||December 13: Michelle Obama and Santa Claus visit a children's hospital in D.C.||Newscom/Sipa&&

10||December 13: Obama checks his BlackBerry en route to the Oval Office.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

11||December 8: The American Youth Choir performs in the Grand Foyer of the White House.||Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy&&

12||December 9: President Obama, with mother-in-law Marian Robinson, daughters Sasha and Malia, and Michelle Obama, react as they push the button to light the National Christmas Tree during a ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C.||Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy&&

13||December 9: The National Christmas Tree is illuminated on the Ellipse in Washington D.C. ||Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson&&

14||December 10: The Obamas address guests during a holiday reception in the Grand Foyer of the White House.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

15||December 14.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

16||December 1: Michelle Obama and White House Pastry Chef Bill Yosses laugh as a young visitor tastes her decorated cookie during a holiday craft demonstration with the children of military personnel in the State Dining Room of the White House.||Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson&&

17||November 26: Michelle Obama, with daughters Sasha and Malia, watch the arrival of the official White House Christmas Tree at the North Portico of the White House.||Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson&&

18||December 5: The President and First Lady pose in front of the Official White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room of the White House.||Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy&&

19||December 10: White House military aides stand by the fireplace in the Blue Room of the White House.||Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton&&

20||December 1: Michelle Obama greets an acapella group from Princeton University during a holiday reception for volunteers in the Grand Foyer of the White House.||Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton&&

21||November 29: White House Assistant Pastry Chef Susie Morrison constructs the White House gingerbread house in the China Room of the White House. The house, which weighs 350 lbs, is made from a foundation of gingerbread and is covered with white chocolate.||Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy&&

22||December 14.||Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton&&

23||December 8: Visitors write cards to servicemen and women during a holiday tour in the East Wing Entrance of the White House.||Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton&&

24||December 5: Obama in the Oval Office takes a late night phone call from President Hu Jintao of China, after attending the Kennedy Center Honors.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

25||December 1: White House Chief Floral Designer Laura Dowling arranges a bouquet in the Vermeil Room of the White House.||Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy&&

26||December 8: Visitors touring the White House pose for photos in front of the Christmas tree in the Blue Room of the White House.||Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy&&

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