It's hard to separate the facts from the posturing here--on both sides--but Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) is now saying, effectively, that Sen. Collins is asking for a process on "don't ask, don't tell" that's doomed, by its very nature, to fail:
"If we don't proceed with this bill, this week, then involving cloture sometime next week, even if we could do it would be a symbolic victory and I don't believe there would be enough time to hammer out a final bill before the end of the session," Levin said.Remember, not only does the military authorization bill have to win Senate approval; both houses then need to reconcile their versions of the authorization. And that simply can't be accomplished instantaneously.
Now, is Levin taking into account the possibility that Democrats could extend the session a few days? It's not clear.
But it's certainly true that there's little time left. And that the junior senator is demanding a proportionally huge block of it be spent discussing a bill whose substance has been known for months.