Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) has climbed off the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell fence and decided to cast her vote for repeal. That makes her the third member of the Republican caucus — behind Scott Brown (MA) and Susan Collins (ME) — to say they’ll vote to end the military’s ban on openly gay service members, a number that should give proponents of repeal much to celebrate. It seems entirely likely now that Democrats have the necessary votes to block a filibuster of the defense authorization bill that includes the DADT repeal language.
But like Collins, Murkowski’s vote comes with the stipulation that Democrats allow enough amendments for the debate to be deemed “open.” Exactly what number that may be is the subject of much gnashing of teeth up here on Capitol Hill today.
As Greg Sargent reports, Murkowski’s staff hasn’t spelled out what her magic number of amendments is.“Her vote will depend on how free and open the amendment process is, but she has reached the decision that don’t ask don’t tell ought to be repealed, provided that proper preparations are implemented,” Murkowski spokesperosn Michael Brumas told Sargent.
So now proponents are faced with an odd — but entirely predictable, if you’ve been watching the Senate closely this year — situation: there seem to be enough votes, eventually, to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. But that doesn’t mean that the ban will be repealed when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid brings it to the floor today, as he’s promised he will.