Murkowski supports DADT repeal, but with ‘wiggle room’ on moving forward

Greg Sargent broke this news earlier this afternoon:

GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski has decided to support repeal of don’t ask don’t tell, her spokesman tells me, potentially adding another crucial GOP vote to the Yes column and putting 60 votes within reach.

“Her vote will depend on how free and open the amendment process is, but she has reached the decision that don’t ask don’t tell ought to be repealed, provided that proper preparations are implemented,” Murkowski spokesman Michael Brumas tells me.

With the Senate set to vote tonight on DADT repeal, this statement does not guarantee that she will vote Yes. Murkowski has given herself some wiggle room here by insisting on a “free and open” amendment process.

Murkowski was absent during the September 21st vote on the Defense Authorization bill.

This is considered big news in Alaska. In fact, The Anchorage Daily News also sent out a breaking news alert with this development. ADN got quotes from the Senator:

“We expect all who serve to serve with integrity, but under current law gay and lesbian service members may speak about their sexual orientation only at the risk of being discharged from performing the duties they have trained hard to carry out,” [Murkowski] said. “America is the loser when it denies those who are willing to make the great sacrifices demanded of our men and women in uniform the opportunity do so on grounds of sexual orientation.”

However, Murkowski’s support of the repeal is conditional. She won’t vote for the bill unless Democrats grant Republicans the opportunity to submit and debate amendments.

“This is a weighty, policy-laden bill that normally takes several weeks to debate and amend,” Murkowski said. “If the majority attempts to push it through allowing little or no debate or votes on amendments, I will be inclined to oppose those efforts.”

Well then, unless Murkowski is playing games, she should be good. Because, there will be plenty of amendments and plenty of time. As John noted in the post below, we’re hearing this:

Senator Reid has reportedly offered Collins a total of 15 amendments, 10 for Republicans and 5 for Democrats.

Hopefully, Collins can cut the deal with Reid, so we can win this thing. It’s got to be about equality and basic fairness, not about process.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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