Senator John McCain (R-AZ) successfully lobbied his bipartisan colleagues into opposing a bill that would repeal the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy. The senate voted 56-43 against debating the bill, just short of the "Magic 60" needed to prevent a filibuster.
Democrats control 59 votes in the Senate; however, Democrats Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln (both from Arkansas) and Senate majority leader Harry Reid, all voted "no", according to the Washington Blade. Reid explained that he wanted to bring up the bill at a later time (most likely in December, after midterm elections).
McCain told the New York Times:
"Why are we now trying to jam this thing through? It is all about the battle-effectiveness, the morale of the men and women who are serving in the military."
The bill also included a 1.4% pay raise for the troops, as well as additional funding for the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, apparently something McCain doesn't believe affects battle-effectiveness or troop morale.
Aubrey Sarvis of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said the vote was “a frustrating blow to repeal this horrible law.”
“We lost because of the political maneuvering dictated by the mid-term elections,” Sarvis told the Washington Blade.. “Let’s be clear: Opponents to repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ did not have the votes to strike those provisions from the bill. Instead, they had the votes for delay.”
Sarvis called on the Senate to take up the defense authorization bill again in December when he said “cooler heads and common sense are more likely to prevail.”
More to come on this story as it develops.