The Washington Post is reporting that Senator Susan Collins is now saying that she will vote against cloture on the bill that includes DADT repeal because she isn't getting enough in negotiations with Senator Reid.
Collins has said she supports repeal, but won't agree to vote for cloture on the Defense Authorization Bill containing repeal if Harry Reid doesn't allow ample time for open debate and amendments on the bill.
In private discussions between Collins and Reid this morning, and between their staffs over the weekend, Collins has demanded that Reid allow what's known as "unlimited debate" on the bill in order for her to vote for repeal, the aide close to the talks says.
So just what was Reid's "unreasonable offer"?
Reid has offered Collins a total of 15 amendments in order to get her to vote Yes -- 10 for Repubicans and five for Democrats, the aide continues. Reid views this as a reasonable offer, because previous debates on defense authorization bills have had roughly this number of amendments offered, the aide adds.
There are competing versions of what Collins is demanding, with Reid's office saying that Collins has asked for unlimited debate, leaving open the possibility of non-germane amendments being offered by opponents to repeal until such time that the clock runs out, leaving it for the new Congress to start from scratch -- and with the new makeup of the House, no DADT repeal.
For Collins part, her office says this isn't true.
A spokesman for Collins flatly denies she asked Reid for unlimited debate. Rather, the spokesman says, Collins has pointed out to Reid that the average number of days spent debating previous defense authorization bills has been 11 days, with an average of 14 or so amendments considered. Collins has asked Reid to come up with a comparable offer, the spokesman says.
So Senator Collins is asking for at least 14 amendments be allowed, and Reid has offered 15, so we can only guess that she wants Reid to allow 11 days of debate as well.
If the Senate allows 11 days of debate on this bill, assuming absolutely no other business in the Senate (which we know is not the case) and the Senate does not adjourn for any weekends, we would be brought to December 20th for a final vote. With weekends included, it would bring us to December 24th.
So the reality is that she is demanding something that, for all intents and purposes, runs the clock out - which would mean no repeal of DADT.
Of course, she gets to have it both ways - as those of us that live in Maine well know is something she excels at. She gets to say that she wanted to repeal DADT without ever having to vote to repeal DADT.
Of course, supporters of repeal in Maine are continuing to organize and call our Senators, and we will not stop until there is no hope, but it's not looking good.