The fate of the DREAM Act and the Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell policy for gays in the U.S. military may be determined as early as Saturday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Thursday evening that he would file cloture on the two bills, both of which were passed by the House this month. The cloture vote will test whether supporters of the two measures can muster the necessary 60 votes to overcome a potential filibuster. Reid’s announcement came just a few hours after he agreed to pass a short term spending package rather than an omnibus package that will fund the government through February.
The vote on the DREAM Act, a bill that would allow young undocumented immigrants who meet a set of requirements to apply for legal status, will come first. If it gets 60 votes to end debate, then there will be a final vote on Sunday. The same goes for the repeal of Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell. Those votes will be followed by a vote on the short-term spending bill, which is expected to pass, and then the START treaty, which aims to reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals.
As Fi2W has reported, DREAM Act advocates have launched a non-stop campaign calling senators who they hope to bring to their side. Advocates in New York are focusing on Maine Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. The two moderate Republicans are among a small group of senators that DREAM Act supporters are focusing on in the final day before the vote.