Despite a last-minute appeal from pop icon Lady Gaga, two moderate Republican senators said Tuesday morning that they will not break with their party on a key vote that would set the stage for a repeal the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
The Senate was scheduled to vote Tuesday on the $725.7 billion defense authorization bill, which sets annual spending levels for the Pentagon – a process that is particularly crucial in time of war. But the controversy over the current bill is fixed on a bid – tied to the bill’s passage – to repeal the President Clinton-era policy that bans openly gay servicemen and women from serving in the military.
Democrats are at least one vote short of the 60 needed to block a GOP filibuster. Sen. Susan Collins (R) of Maine – the lone Republican to vote to repeal don’t ask, don’t tell in the Senate Armed Services Committee – appeared to be their best prospect.
“It’s the right thing to do. I think it’s only fair” to repeal don’t ask, don’t tell, said Senator Collins in a floor speech Tuesday. “But I cannot vote to proceed to this bill under a situation that’s going to shut down the debate and preclude Republican amendments. That, too, is not fair.
Obama approval rating at 45%