Even before Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont embarked on his marathon speech in opposition to President Barack Obama’s tax cut compromise on Friday, the U.S. Senate was stuck in a deep, maddening rut.
The Republican minority, joined by one Democrat, destroyed an opportunity to end the unjust “don’t ask, don’t tell,” policy, which forces gays and lesbians to conceal their sexual identities if they want to serve in uniform.
The refusal to allow a vote on a defense bill that included a repeal of the discriminatory policy was spiteful and counterproductive. As U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned Friday, if Congress can’t get the job done, the courts may order the policy overturned, in a much more chaotic manner.
Senate Republicans, who appeared more powerful than the Democratic majority, also blocked consideration of a bill that would ensure that rescue and cleanup workers who suffer health problems from the 9/11 terrorist attacks receive adequate medical care.
To read the complete editorial, visit www.kansascity.com.