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Here Is How We Get 60 Votes Saturday To Repeal DADT

December 17, 2010

By all accounts we have the votes!  Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is on the way to the rubbish pile of history. 

Backers of repeal see this weekend’s vote as the last, best chance to repeal the policy before a more Republican Congress takes over in January. 

Here’s how the Senate gets to 60 votes: There are 58 senators who caucus with Democrats, and all but West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and potentially North Dakota’s Kent Conrad appear poised to back the bill.

That makes 56 votes. There are at least four Republicans who say they will vote for repeal: Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. In addition, Dick Lugar of Indiana and George Voinovich of Ohio are considering voting for repeal. That adds up to 60 to 62 votes, and more Republicans could peel off and back the bill if repeal seems inevitable.

(One side note: Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon will undergo prostate surgery on Monday. But his office says he will be in the Senate for the votes over the weekend.)

In terms of what to expect Saturday: There are two votes scheduled in the Senate, on cloture (to cut off debate) for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the DREAM Act. The votes may begin around 10 am. If “Don’t Ask” gets 60 votes for cloture, a 30-hour debate clock begins before a final vote.

That would set the final vote for Sunday — though lawmakers could agree to give up that time and just get on with the final vote tomorrow afternoon or evening. They could also kick the final vote to Monday to avoid having to work on Sunday.

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