Sixty-one senators have now expressed support for repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, appearing to clear the way for passage if Democrats can bring the bill to a vote before the holidays.
But the timing of a potential vote on the legislation remains uncertain as lawmakers race to dispose of other major items in the days left before Christmas. The House voted on Wednesday to approve the repeal and sent it to the Senate for passage.
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, has remained mum about when the chamber might vote on the measure. But Mr. Reid has scheduled a news conference for 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon where the subject could come up.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs declared Thursday that “I believe we have the votes” to allow gay troops to serve openly in the armed forces. And advocates who have been working the halls of the Capitol for weeks said they are hopeful.
“We now feel confident that we have the 60 votes necessary to get repeal done this session of Congress,” said Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign.
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