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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Senate Republicans Hold Firm on Promise Not to Support Any Bill Before Taxes, Budget Are Addressed

Harry Reid tried to put two bills up for a vote today that was defeated by almost of the the Republican's voting against the measure. They did this, by-in-large, because they had promised not to let any other bill come up for a vote, until the tax and budget issues are taken care of before the lame-duck session is closed.

The first one rejected was the one that dealt with a bill that was designed to compensate 9/11 survivors' for lingering health issues stemming from inhaling dust from the World Trade Center collapse:

Senate Republicans on Thursday derailed a bill to aid people who got sick after exposure to dust from the World Trade Center's collapse in the Sept. 11 attack.

Supporters were three votes short of the 60 needed to proceed to debate and a final vote on the bill that would have provided as much as $7.4 billion in health care and compensation to 9/11 responders and survivors. The bill failed on a test vote, 57-42.

Fifty-seven Democrats voted for the bill and 41 Republicans opposed it. Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, switched his vote to 'no' at the last moment, a parliamentary move that allows him to bring the measure up again for a vote.

Backers of the legislation see this lame-duck session of Congress as possibly its last chance. The bill has passed the House.

Republican senators have promised not to consider any other bills until the Senate acts on funding the government and extending tax cuts.

That one is a bit tricky because the Democrats have already used their no votes as a way to label Republicans as not being compassionate to those who survived the tragedies of 9/11. Republicans must speak out on this to make sure that Americans know why they voted against this bill. They can't let the Democrats frame this debate without their side of the story being expressed.

Even in the next Congress, this has a chance to be passed later on, but for now, it is not an issue that must be acted on immediately.

The second bill was on the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy:

The Senate on Thursday rejected a Democratic bid to open debate on repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning openly gay and lesbian soldiers from military service, possibly killing any chance for it to get passed in the current congressional session.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, called the vote without an agreement from any Republican senators to support the motion, ensuring it would fail.

The vote was 57-40 in favor of the cloture motion that required 60 votes to pass.

While most polls show that the majority of Americans favor the repeal, this won't be as toxic for the GOP because most Americans, also, realize that this issue doesn't need immediate attention.

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