UPDATE: Republicans Filibuster Defense Authorization Bill & DREAM Act
09/21/2010 - 16:30 ||
The DREAM act is scheduled to come up for a vote before the senate today at 2:30PM after Senate majority leader Harry Reid added the amendment to the defense authorization bill a few weeks ago. But unfortunately (and ironically), Sen. John McCain—once a staunch supporter of the DREAM act and the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee—has announced that he is filibustering the $726 billion defense-spending bill.
Many expect the filibuster to work, with the Democrats struggling to amass the 60 crucial votes necessary to push the bill through without any Republican support. The normally run-of-the-mill defense authorization bill has become quite controversial due to three amendments currently attached to it; the DREAM act, an amendment to ban the practice of placing “secret holds” on presidential nominees, and a repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.
In order to overcome the filibuster, Democrats would have to convince centrist Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins (both from Maine) to join them in voting for the defense authorization bill, but it's looking less and less likely that this will happen. Both senators have indicated that though they support both the DREAM act and a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell—they oppose Reid’s decision to allow only two amendments to the defense authorization bill.
UPDATE: Democrats were unable to amass the necessary 60 votes in order to pass the DREAM act and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell as part of the 2011 defense authorization bill. Only 56 senators voted in favor of stopping the filibuster, while 43 voted for the filibuster. The filibuster has effectively shelved the controversial topics of immigration reform and the repeal of the 1993 law banning gays from serving in the military until after the midterm elections. "It would be unthinkable that we not have a defense authorization bill," Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich. said.
Senator McCain called the DREAM act amendment a "blatant and cynical attempt to galvanize the Hispanic vote."