Thursday, December 9, 2010

Didn't See That Coming

Collins votes to advance repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" and it still fails. (Sen. Snowe voted "no.")

UPDATE: Greg Sargent has the gruesome details:

Reid concluded that even if Collins was sincere in her promise to vote for repeal if given the four days of debate, there was no way to prevent the proceedings from taking longer, the aide says. Reid decided that the cloture vote, the 30 hours of required post-cloture debate, and procedural tricks mounted by conservative Senators who adamantly oppose repeal would have dragged the process on far longer.

"It would have been much more than four days," the aide says. "Her suggestions were flat out unworkable given how the Senate really operates. You can talk about four days until the cows come home. That has very little meaning for Coburn and DeMint and others who have become very skilled at grinding this place to a halt."


The aide rejected the claim that Reid should have extended the session another week in order to accommodate GOP procedural demands, as Joe Lieberman and others had asked, arguing that extended debate would actually have dragged the session into January, what with other things on the Senate to-do list.

"Why do we need to extend the session?" the aide asked. "Republicans have blocked this bill since February. We've made offer after offer to try to reach agreement on this. Going through those procedural motions along with the START treaty and tax cuts would have taken us until January 5th."
I'm as big a critic of the junior senator as anyone, and I think her behavior on this issue has been repugnant and indefensible.

Still, on first blush Reid's excuse--at least the version of it articulated here--rings hollow.

That said, it's worth drawing attention to the fact that even though Collins voted for the bill, her procedural complaints seem to be what killed it. That's difficult to understand, but worth sorting out in the hours and days ahead.

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