After two failed attempts in as many months to end the ban on gays serving openly in the military, it is now very likely that the Senate will send a bill repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to President Obama before the end of the year.
A spokesman from Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown’s office said Thursday that the senator will support a stand-alone proposal to repeal the 17-year-old policy, giving the Senate plenty of room to pass it.
“Senator Brown accepts the Pentagon’s recommendation to repeal the policy after proper preparations have been completed,” said Brown spokesman Gail Gitcho. “If and when a stand-alone repeal bill comes up for a vote, he will support it.”
Brown joined Republicans in September and again in December to vote down a defense spending bill that included language that would have repealed the military ban, but he has made clear that he would support repeal “when the battle effectiveness of the forces is assured and proper preparations have been completed.” That time, Brown says, has come.
Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Brown have all voiced support for a stand-alone bill that would repeal the Clinton-era policy. Collins and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Connecticut Independent, introduced the stand-alone bill last week.
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia cast the only Democratic vote to oppose the measure last week. Even if Manchin votes against it again, the proposal still has the 60 votes of support needed to fend off a Republican filibuster.
The House passed a stand-alone repeal bill Wednesday evening and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has vowed that it will reach the Senate floor before the end of the lame-duck session. Lieberman said on CNN Wednesday that he hopes to see a vote “Sunday or Monday of next week.”
Brown’s support for the stand-alone measure was originally reported by ABC News.