Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell vote: déjà vu all over again

Is Congress back to square one when it comes to repealing the Pentagon’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy banning gays from serving openly in the military?

It sure seems that way. After all, the House had already passed such a measure, with all five of Connecticut’s congressional delegation voting in favor the first time–and again tonight.

Meanwhile, everyone knows the real action will be in the Senate, where the fate of the bill remains uncertain, despite a sharp pivot in strategy by proponents.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, and his allies in the effort to overturn DADT, last week decided to strip their proposal out of a broader defense bill and push it as a stand-alone measure. That’s what passed overwhelmingly in the House on Wednesday.

“It is now the Senate’s turn to take the final step toward overturning this discriminatory policy,” Lieberman said. “We are out of excuses.”

But opposition in the Senate, led by Lieberman’s close friend Sen. John McCain, remains fierce. And in the wake of Wednesday’s House vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., did not seem to be in the mood for a lot for coaxing or sweet talk before the Senate tries again to pass a DADT repeal in the coming days.

“We are very quickly running out of days in this Congress,” Reid said in a statement Wednesday night.”The time for week-long negotiations on amendments and requests for days of debate is over.  Republican Senators who favor repealing this discriminatory policy need to join with us now to stand against those who are trying to run out the clock on this Congress.”