DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL moves forward.

The U.S. Senate debated/voted The Dream Act and DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL legislation immigration bill this morning:

DREAM Act: 55 YES. 41 NO. It doesn’t move forward.

The bill “Don’t ask, don’t tell” moves forward. 63 YES, 33 NO!

The 63-33 vote sets the stage for a direct vote on ending the policy.

The Senate will take one more vote at 3 p.m. ET today to officially pass the repeal; only a majority vote is needed for the bill’s official passage.

If they vote yes, the bill will to President Obama to be signed into law.

Six Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the repeal: Sens. Scott Brown (Mass.), Susan Collins (Maine), Olympia Snowe (Maine), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and George Voinovich (Ohio).

The democrat Manchin voted against it. “While I believe the DADT policy will be repealed, and probably should be repealed in the near future, I cannot support a repeal of the policy at this time,” he said.

Mr. Obama today released a statement saying that he is confident the military can responsibly transition to the new policy while ensuring its strength and readiness. He said that the policy undermines national security while violating American ideals.

“By ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay. And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love,” Mr. Obama said. “It is time to close this chapter in our history. It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed.”

Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, dismissed Republican complaints that Democrats were trying to race through the repeal to satisfy their political supporters.

“I’m not here for partisan reasons,” Mr. Levin said. “I’m here because men and women wearing the uniform of the United States who are gay and lesbian have died for this country, because gay and lesbian men and women wearing the uniform of this country have their lives on the line right now.”

The repeal would not take effect for at least 60 days while some other procedural steps are taken. In addition the bill requires the defense secretary to determine that policies are in place to carry out the repeal consistent with military standards for readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention.


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