Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on
Wednesday postponed a vote on repeal of the military's ban on open
On the Senate floor, Reid announced
plans to move forward on repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” which
is tucked inside the Defense Authorization Act: “I'm likely going
to move to my motion to reconsider on the Defense Authorization Act
this evening. Allowing, as I will indicate at the time, time for
amendments to that piece of legislation.”
Reid's plan met with stiff resistance
from Republicans, including repeal proponent Maine Senator Susan
Collins, who threatened to vote against repeal of the law that bans
gay and bisexual troops to serve openly.
Collins demanded a “fair and open”
process on debate and amendments to the bill.
of the GOP caucus have promised to unite against the defense bill
unless Democratic leaders first address the Bush-era tax cuts.
“Everyone on the Republican side
wants to see the tax package completed first,” Collins told
reporters Wednesday. “So I have urged the Majority Leader to
postpone the vote … which he is threatening to hold tonight so we
could get the tax bill considered first.”
Negotiations are expected to resume on
Thursday. Republicans are asking for greater freedom to choose
amendments and up to 34 hours of debate on the bill. Reid has
offered half that number.
“There are many people in my caucus
who disagree with my position [in favor of repeal],” Collins said.
“They deserve an opportunity to offer amendments to strike that
provision, to modify it, and also to address other important
controversial issues in the bill.”