Thursday, December 09, 2010

Last Call for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Repeal

It has been confirmed that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (or, rather, the cloture vote for the National Defense Authorization Act) will be brought up for a vote this afternoon.  Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) has said we have 60 votes, but it is important that we continue to lobby the key swing votes (phone numbers at the bottom of this post) to make sure repeal is passed.

One person we need to lobby is Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.).  Some advocacy groups seem to be indicating that Lincoln has changed her mind, but barring an official, Pryor-esque statement, I don’t think we should take her support for granted.  We need all Democrats on board if we’re going to repeal DADT, so give Lincoln a call and urge her to support repeal this time around.

But even if we do get all Democrats on board, we still need at least one Republican on our side (we were one Republican short in September, and we have since then lost Roland Burris of Illinois and gained Scott Brown of Massachusetts).  This vote could come from any of the following senators: Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), Sen. Richard Lugar (Indiana), Sen. John Ensign (Nevada), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine), and Sen. George Voinovich (Ohio).  Each of these senators should be called, as they have all expressed some degree (albeit in some cases quite small) of possible support for repeal.  Collins is the most likely, but she will only vote for cloture if a tax deal is cut first, and if a certain number of amendments and hours for debate are allowed for NDAA consideration.

That means that another person we really need to lobby is Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is responsible for deciding when the cloture vote happens and how many amendments/hours are granted for the bill.  If he doesn’t give moderate Republicans what they want, DADT repeal is probably dead.  Reid and Collins are in negotiations, but we can’t rely on good faith to make sure these negotiations are successful.  Please call Reid and make sure he does what he needs to do to get Collins and other moderate Republicans on board for repeal.

Lastly, we need to lobby President Obama.  The President of the United States is one of the most powerful lobbyists in the world: a call from the president can and will have an impact on moderate Republicans’ views on repeal.  Call the White House Comment Line and tell them you want to see Obama take a more hands-on role in the repeal process.

Our approach, then, is three-fold.  Tell the swing votes – including Democrat Lincoln and several Republicans – to support repeal.  Tell Reid to give Collins and others the tax deal, amendments and debate hours they require to support cloture.  Tell Obama to get more involved in pressuring the Senate to support repeal.

We are coming down to the wire; we don’t have another hour to spare.  Call these numbers NOW and demand repeal:

White House Comment Line: 202-456-1111
Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.): 202-224-3542
Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark): 202-224-4843
Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine): 202-224-2523
Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.): 202-224-4814
Senator John Ensign (R-Nev.): 202-224-6244
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska): 202-224-6665
Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine): 202-224-5344
Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio): 202-224-3353

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