Republicans block repeal of 'Don't ask, Don't tell' policy

With the usual procedural stymieing and partisan politicking, the US Congress showed off its talent for inaction last night by failing to pass legislation to repeal the law that bars gays from serving openly in the military even though both the president and Pentagon leaders have voiced support for it.

Living up to their growing reputation as the party of "No", Republicans successfully set a roadblock in the way of an attempt by Democrats to attach the repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy introduced by the former President Bill Clinton in 1993 to a wider bill authorising annual military spending.

All hopes of moving the change through before the November elections fizzled when Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine, signalled her unwillingness to cross party lines on the issue. The bill was supported by 56 votes to 43 in the chamber, not a large enough margin to avert a Republican filibuster.

On Monday, the glamour-and-glitz popular singer Lady Gaga had led a rally of almost 2,000 people in Maine to pressure Senator Collins into siding with the Democrats. The senator has said she supports repealing the ban but in the end objected to the way it was being pushed through.

With a wave of new conservatives expected to populate Capitol Hill after the November mid-terms, the prospects for ending the ban have now dwindled significantly. It is another setback for President Barack Obama, who promised early this year that he would repeal it.

Polls have shown increasing impatience with the ban and both the Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, and the Joint Chiefs Chairman, Admiral Mike Mullen, have voiced support for jettisoning pending an internal review on how it should be done. The review is due in early December.

While the Republicans may be risking the alienation of younger voters with their tactics, not all Democrats will be happy with what occurred either. By piggy-backing the measure on to the wider military spending bill, the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, hoped to get it through with minimum debate and controversy. But it was a strategy that clearly backfired.

"There are many controversial issues in this bill. They deserve to have civil, fair and open debate on the Senate floor," Senator Collins said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral