Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said in a released statement that she will likely oppose cloture of the Defense Authorization bill when it comes to the Senate floor on Tuesday afternoon under its current form. Sen. Snowe has crossed party lines a number of times during the 111th Congress, and she's been a fence-sitter when it comes to Dream and the Defense bill, but she said that she can't support the bill if Majority Leader Reid only allows three amendments.
“First and foremost, the Senate should have the ability to debate more than the three amendments the Majority Leader is allowing,” Sen. Olympia Snowe said. “It is therefore imperative that Senate deliberations on the defense bill be conducted without limitations and in a manner that allows for the consideration of all related amendments that Senators may wish to offer.”
The Senate is scheduled to vote on cloture for the Defense bill at 2:15 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. Sixty votes are required to open floor debate on the bill. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who chairs the Senate Armed Forces Committee, said a vote on an amendment that adds the DREAM Act to the Defense bill will be the first vote taken if cloture passes.
In addition to Snowe, several other "fence-sitting" Senators have approached Sen. Reid about his reluctance to allow amendments and have said they will consider opposing cloture on the Defense bill if he doesn't change the rules. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Sen. George Voinovoich (R-Ohio), and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) have all told Reid he jeopardizes their support with strict rules on debate.
Sen. Lugar is the lone Republican sponsor of the DREAM Act. Sen. Collins and Sen. Voinovoich along with Sen. Snowe all supported DREAM and the mass amnesty bill in 2007.
Updated: Tue, Sep 21st 2010 @ 9:05am EDT