Republicans May Be Pressuring Reid To Drop DADT Repeal In Return For A Vote On START And Bush Tax Cuts

This morning, during an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) — the sponsor of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the Senate — said he has been “talking” to his friend Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) but was “not making progress in my effort” to sway him to vote for cloture on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — the underlining bill that includes the repeal amendment. Lieberman reiterated that he believes he has 60 votes for cloture on the bill and urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to bring up the measure under an open amendment process:

LIEBERMAN: I don’t know if I can say I’ve been lobbying my friend John McCain, [but] I’ve been talking to him. I can say that I’m not making progress in my efforts with Senator McCain. But I believe we have more than 60 Senators, including a good solid handful of Republicans, who are prepared to vote to take up the Armed Services bill, which already has within it the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

And the real challenge here is the clock. Will we take the time to have the debate, not just on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell but on the underlining Defense Authorization bill. And I can tell you that some of the Republicans who want to be for this, also want to make sure that Senator Reid offers them a fair amendment process.

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Still it remains unclear if moderate Republicans — who had said they would wait for the results of the study before deciding how to vote on repeal — are interested in pursuing the measure during the lame duck session. As the Wonk Room points out, some GOP leaders are hinting that they will try to run-out the clock or pressure Democrats to drop the measure in return for Republican cooperation on the New START treaty.