BY Kerry Eleveld
September 08 2010 4:05 PM ET
Prior to the August recess, Manley said, the majority leader tried to reach an agreement with Republicans to move forward with a vote on the legislation, but Sen. John McCain of Arizona — who was fending off a primary challenge from hard-core conservative J.D. Hayworth — thwarted the effort.
“Now that [McCain’s] primary is over,” Manley said, “hopefully he will allow us to go to the bill.”
McCain’s office declined to comment for this article.
But Sarvis said hope may not be enough in this case and called continuing to accommodate Republicans “a prescription for failure.” He’s looking for Majority Leader Reid to file a cloture petition if Democrats cannot find common ground with the GOP on taking a vote.
“We reached a point where we can’t sit on sidelines and let the opposition continue to object — the critical hour is here,” Sarvis said, adding that he believes Reid will keep his commitment to bring the legislation to the floor.
But if Sarvis does not see such a commitment soon, he said, SLDN will take the fight to Reid’s home turf in order to lobby for action.
“We’ll take it to Nevada or Arizona or wherever we need to go to get the job done,” he said.
Fred Sainz, vice president of communications for the Human Rights Campaign, said the Senate has no reason to shy away from addressing “don’t ask, don’t tell” politically because House members who voted for repeal have not been targeted on the issue.
“We have yet to see even one member where the fact that they voted for repeal is being used against them in their reelection battle,” Sainz said.
Sarvis added that not taking a vote on the bill that funds the nation’s national security would be highly unusual.
“I think there’s 60 senators or more who want to see that defense authorization bill passed,” he said. “This would be extraordinary to hold up funding for the troops, for their pay and benefits, their equipment, rifles, and armor as they wage war halfway around the world for our country.”