WASHINGTON — A major defense authorization bill carrying the repeal of the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law was blocked on Thursday by Senate Republicans and one Senate Democrat after negotiations between the parties failed. A number of moderate Republicans who said they supported a repeal, including Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), voted to filibuster the measure. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) joined their efforts.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), the prime negotiating partner of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s, voted to bring the bill forward but only after it was clear that the 60 needed to end a filibuster would not be achieved. Her vote came after she angrily roamed the Senate floor, rolling up text of the legislation and waving it around, smacking it on Sen. Dick Durbin’s desk and hitting him on the arm with it. The final tally was 57 Senators in favor of moving forward, 40 opposed.
Sens. Brown and Murkowski had previously said they supported repeal of DADT but demanded an “open amendment process” to ensure Republicans can make changes to the defense bill. Reid, in turn, offered Collins 15 amendments — 10 for Republicans and five for Democrats — but she countered with a request for four days of floor debate.