Susan Collins Lobbied by Pro-Obama Grassroots Group on DADT

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As Democrats work to get Republican Sen. Susan Collins on board for a 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' repeal vote by the end of the lame-duck session, Organizing for America, Obama's grassroots group, has chipped in with some lobbying efforts.

On Thursday, three OFA volunteers -- an Iraq War veteran, a retired army physician and colonel, and the spouse of a West Point graduate -- delivered a petition with more than 582,000 signatures to Sen. Collins' office. The OFA, whose activities have been under the radar for a while, began their signature deliveries to support Obama's budget outline in spring 2009.

Sen. Collins has voiced her objection to the procedure behind repealing DADT, not the policy itself. DADT is part of a Defense authorization bill, which includes several other amendments. Collins has said she won't vote to repeal the law and pass the bill unless she's given more time to debate the non-DADT amendments -- yesterday, she gave Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid an ultimatum to that effect.

"The majority leader's allotment of time for to debate those amendments was extremely short, so I have suggested doubling the amount of time, assuring that there would be votes, and making sure that the Republicans get to pick our own amendments as opposed to the Majority Leader," Collins said. "If he does that I will do all that I can to help him proceed to the bill. But if he does not do that, then I will not."

The lame-duck session doesn't officially end until Jan. 3, when the new members of Congress are sworn in, and the GOP assumes the majority in the House. On Thursday afternoon, Reid announced that he would move to a procedural vote of DADT soon.
UPDATED: The Senate lost the vote on DADT repeal, even with the vote of Sen. Collins.

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Elizabeth Weingarten is an editorial assistant at the New America Foundation. A former Slate editorial assistant, she also previously wrote for and produced the Atlantic's International Channel.

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