A Republican senator whom “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal advocates have been courting as a potential vote for repeal has said he won’t vote in favor of moving forward with major defense budget legislation to which repeal language is attached.
In a brief exchange on Capitol Hill, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) told the Washington Blade he intends to vote against cloture on the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill if, as expected, the legislation comes up for a vote today.
“I will vote against cloture,” he said. “I believe we ought to have full debate on the defense authorization bill.”
Many Republicans senators have said they’re seeking a more open amendment process for the defense authorization bill than what was previously proposed when an attempt to bring the legislation to the floor was made in September.
A Senate Democratic aide earlier told the Blade that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) intended to propose 10 Republican amendments and 5 Democratic amendments for the legislation when it came up for a vote the next time around.
Asked why he felt these amendments were insufficient, Lugar said he’s unaware of Reid’s plans for the legislation, but still intends to vote “no.”
“I have not heard about his plans, so my answer to you is just based on my knowledge at the moment,” Lugar said. “I’m not aware of Sen. Reid’s plans, but we’ve been told we’d have a vote on cloture on authorization, and I plan to vote “no” on that if that is what we’re voting on.”
Lugar said he supports “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal and his decision to vote “no” is unrelated to the repeal provision in the bill.
“I appreciate it’s in the bill, so are many other things for that matter,” he said.