[T]here's no longer any doubt as to whether there are the necessary 60 votes in the Senate to get this done. The only issue, Harry Reid tells us, is this: Will there be enough time to vote on repeal before the end of the lame duck session?
As a matter of fact, there is a simple way that Reid can make the time necessary to ensure this gets done, aides involved in the discussions tell me. Reid needs to schedule a debate and vote on DADT repeal beginning as soon as this weekend, once the issue over government funding is resolved. Reid can do this before New START is resolved, or at least while it's getting resolved.
Sargent returned to the subject after reporters talked with Reid:
The good news: Reid appeared to commit to holding the vote on the stand-alone repeal bill. And he vowed to prolong the session if necessary to get it and other things done.
The bad news: He said he might not schedule the DADT repeal vote before Christmas. This has aides on the Hill worried.
Josh Marshall says the "key background issue to think about here ... is DADT repeal versus getting the START treaty passed. Which goes first and which there's time to get passed." On the same topic, Goddard provides this Reid quote:
We are in session, if necessary, up to January 5th. That is the clock our Republican colleagues need to run out. It's a long clock.
Which makes Bernstein hopeful:
Now, we still don't know what exactly can get through the Senate at the end of the day. But Democrats should breath a sign of relief that Harry Reid isn't going to give up in the early afternoon; he's saying, as he should be, that he and the Democrats are going to sprint to the wire. The truth is that Senate Majority Leaders are a lot less influential than most people seem to think; Senate rules and practices emphasize the rights of individual Senators, and so the leaders often can do little more than co-ordinate, as opposed to the way that the Speaker of the House really leads. Even here, it's hard to say how much this is Reid's accomplishment, and how much it's just what his caucus wants. Either way, however, he's making the correct play, this time.
(Photo: A veteran takes part during a rally on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on December 10, 2010. By Alex Wong/Getty Images)