The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act will be on the Senate floor for a vote this morning. The Act is an amendment on H.R. 2647, the Department of Defense Authorization bill.
To watch the Senate this morning click here.
UPDATE: The Senate achieved cloture on the Department of Defense Authorization Bill minutes ago with a vote of 64 to 35. Now the Senate will debate the Conference report and will be followed by a full vote.
Heard on the Floor: Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) gave a statement on the bill. He said this is the first time in his 15 years he will be voting against the DOD Authorization bill. He stated he supports most of the provisions in the bill, including pay raises for the troops. However, he will not support the bill, in part, because the Hate Crimes bill is attached. Sen. Chambliss believes hate crime laws to be "unnecessary and irresponsible".
Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) calls the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act "a substantial step forward in our values as Americans." Invokes the story of Angie Zapata, who was beaten to death in her home because she was transgender. Says the bill is the answer to Sen. Ted Kennedy's question, "How long will some Americans need to live in fear?"