“I just don’t think it’s going to be credible for anyone to say, for technical or procedural reasons, [that] even though I support the principle, I’m not going to vote for it,” Lieberman said. “You’ve got to make sure to get your votes there and that nobody’s affected by anything extraneous. But right now we’re on a very encouraging path.”
One helpful development in Lieberman’s whip counting is that Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who will undergo surgery next week to treat early-stage prostate cancer, will be present for the vote.
The DADT bill is expected to come up Saturday after a procedural vote to consider the DREAM Act, an immigration bill that is not expected to clear the 60-vote threshold.
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which is pushing for repeal, announced Friday that supporters will sit in the Senate gallery until Saturday’s vote. Organizing for America, the grass-roots arm of the Democratic National Committee, sent an e-mail to supporters Friday to boost momentum behind both liberal priorities, which Republicans have dismissed as election-year priorities that Reid is pushing in the final days of the legislative session.
Indeed, Sen. Bob Corker said on the floor Friday that the last-minute push on the DREAM Act and DADT are poisoning the separate debate over ratifying the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which President Barack Obama is pushing the Senate to approve before adjourning for the year.
“I’m hoping that saner minds will prevail and these issues that have been brought forth, that are absolutely partisan political issues brought forth to basically accommodate activist groups around this country ... will be taken down,” the Tennessee Republican said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.