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Sunday, December 19, 2010

DREAM Fails, D.A.D.T. Passes, START Up Next

George Wenschhof

Although the immigration bill which provided a pathway to citizenship for children of illegal immigrants, received 55 votes, it was unable to break the Republican led filibuster. has more here.

However, the Gay and Lesbian community celebrated the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell". Eight Republicans voted with Democrats, as the vote was 65-31. The bill will be signed by President Obama and the military will then implement the change over the next several months.

Interestingly, new Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (W.Va.) did not make either vote - his excuse was he was attending holiday parties.

Another former Democratic Senator, Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), is the new hero of the hour as he led the successful effort to repeal D.A.D.T. after an earlier effort had failed in the Senate. He is up for reelection in 2012 and it will be interesting to see if he returns to the Democratic fold or remains an Independent.

Political observers remember Lieberman as the Vice President candidate in the 2000 election and endorsing Republican John McCain in the 2008 election. has more here.

Ratification of the START Treaty with Russia is the last remaining major legislation for the Senate to vote on prior to the Holidays. Yesterday, an attempt by Republicans to amend the treaty over concerns of a planned U.S. missile defense system in Europe, failed by a vote of 59-37, with President Obama assuring lawmakers the treaty would have no impact on the planned system. The NY Times has more here.

Either 66 or 67 votes will be needed to ratify the treaty depending on whether Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who has planned prostate surgery, is able to attend. Further discussion is planned for today. If an amendment is successful, the treaty would have to go back to Russia for further deliberation before passage could be obtained.

The treaty should not be receiving Republican obstruction as it provides needed on the ground verification of nuclear arsenals of both countries.

The final vote promises to be extremely close and may take place by Tuesday. If the START Treaty is ratified, it will put a punctuation mark on a strong finish and a long list of accomplishments over the first two years by the Obama administration.


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