Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
announced late Thursday that the Senate will vote on repeal of “Don't
Ask, Don't Tell” on Saturday.
Saturday's vote is likely to be the
final attempt by repeal backers to end the law that bans gay and
bisexual troops from serving openly before Republicans takeover the
House and increase their numbers in the Senate.
members on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted in favor of repeal.
Senate Republicans, led by Arizona
Senator John McCain, have twice blocked passage of a defense bill
that included language to repeal the law.
After the second loss, Connecticut
Senator Joe Lieberman announced a standalone version of the bill
which eliminates most of the procedural objections cited by
Lieberman has said he believes as many
as 61 senators might vote for the measure.
Citing a Pentagon report that endorses
Olympia Snowe of Maine on Wednesday joined three other GOP senators
– Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Scott Brown
of Massachusetts – in announcing her support for lifting the ban.
Of keen interest will be how West
Virginia Senator Joe Machin votes. Manchin has been criticized for
being the only Democrat to vote against repeal earlier in the month.
The 63-year-old newly-minted senator at first said
he objected to repeal because he worried about how it would affect
military chaplains but later shifted to saying
he was unprepared to vote.