Yesterday, the Senate failed to garner enough votes to begin debating the Department of Defense authorization bill, making it less likely that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal and the DREAM Act, which were both added to the bill as amendments, will become law this year.
“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. Time is the enemy here,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
Both amendments are major priorities of the civil and human rights community and enjoy broad support among American people. Seventy-eight percent of Americans support repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” and 70 percent support the DREAM Act.
“The ‘DREAM Act’ earned the right to be discussed on its merits before the Senate. We are deeply frustrated that Senate Republicans did not see it fit to give the legislation that opportunity,” said Janet Murguía, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza.
The language in the “don’t ask, don’t tell” amendment would have repealed the policy 60 days after a Pentagon study into how best to implement repeal is submitted to Congress and the president. The DREAM Act would provide undocumented immigrant youth whose parents brought them to the U.S. with a path to citizenship if they pursue higher education or serve in the military for at least two years.