Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) tonight filed cloture on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal legislation for a possible vote in the Senate on Saturday.
Regan Lachappelle, a Reid spokesperson, said the Senate no longer plans take up omnibus legislation to fund the government as originally planned and will instead proceed to “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and the DREAM Act, an immigration-related bill.
“The first vote will be on cloture on the DREAM Act on Saturday,” Lachapelle said. “If that fails we would move to the cloture vote on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”
At least 60 votes are necessary to invoke cloture on legislation. If cloture is invoked Saturday on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal legislation, a vote for final passage could take place 30 hours later. The vote for final passage requires a simple majority of senators.
Gay rights supporters expressed confidence that the votes are present to move ahead with “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” legislation.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), the sponsor of the repeal legislation, praised Reid for scheduling the vote and said sufficient support is present in the Senate to move forward.
“I am confident that we have more than 60 votes to end this law that discriminates against military service members based solely on their sexual orientation,” he said. “Repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will affirm the Senate’s commitment to the civil rights of all Americans and also make our military even stronger.”
Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said he’s “gratified” that Reid moved ahead with a vote on the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” legislation.
“It’s time that senators vote their consciences and move our military and our country forward,” Solmonese said. “This has always been an issue of integrity for our military and the brave gay and lesbian service members who serve our country every day. America is ready for a vote and there’s no need for anymore waiting.”