Maine’s moderate senators sabotaging DREAM Act, “don’t ask, don’t tell”

Olympia Snowe comes out against sensible DREAM Act, Susan Collins delays a "don't ask, don't tell" vote

Topics: U.S. Senate, Don't Ask Don't Tell, Immigration, Immigration Reform, Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, Susan M. Collins, War Room,

Maine's moderate senators sabotaging DREAM Act, "don't ask, don't tell"Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins

Maine’s moderate Republican senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, are again proving themselves to be totally reasonable people whom you can always rely on to negotiate in good faith. Today Olympia Snowe is killing the DREAM Act and Susan Collins is strongly considering blocking the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

The DREAM Act provides a lengthy and fairly arduous path to citizenship for people who immigrated to America as children and then attended college or served honorably in the armed forces, providing they spend a decade on their very, very best behavior. Olympia Snowe has come out against it. Because there are too many immigrants:

“Millions of illegal immigrants could attempt to become legal residents as a result of this proposal, according to some estimates, and it is incumbent upon the Senate to ensure our policies never again lead to a situation where we are confronted with upwards of 12 million illegal immigrants residing within our borders.”

Yes, according to “some estimates,” millions of people “could attempt” to become legal residents. That is the point of the legislation. To allow people to stay in America legally, instead of illegally, if they do things that are considered beneficial for the country as a whole. According to real estimates, a couple hundred thousand people would be eligible to apply for “conditional lawful permanent resident status” immediately, and many more people would eventually be eligible to apply for that status should they meet certain conditions.

You Might Also Like

But Olympia Snowe does have a really good point: If the Senate refuses to act on this issue, all of the immigrants will probably just go away.

(John McCain, who used to support a much less restrictive version of the DREAM Act, now opposes this one, but no one expects anything but embittered betrayals from that old codger. Snowe is supposed to be a reasonable person.)

Meanwhile, there are 60 votes for the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Supposedly. But there is still a very good chance it will not happen, because of Maine Sen. Susan Collins.

While Collins strongly supports allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces, she even more strongly supports the right of Republican senators to offer unlimited pointless amendments to the defense authorization bill in order to delay its passage until a more conservative Congress is in session and repeal is off the table for possibly years.

So she’s been in tense negotiations with Harry Reid, who is promising “15 amendments, 17 hours of debate, and room to negotiate more.” That is not enough for Collins.

Sources close to Sen. Collins insist she’s negotiating in “good faith,” but usually two people who support the same exact goal — in this case, the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” — don’t actually need to waste very much time “negotiating” anything.

Harry Reid still wants to hold a cloture vote tonight, but if Susan Collins doesn’t come around soon, that vote will fail.

Alex Pareene
Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at and follow him on Twitter @pareene

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Michael Ohl/Museum fur Naturkunde

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Soul-Sucking Dementor Wasp

    Latin name: Ampulex dementor

    Truong Ngyuen

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    10,000th reptile species

    Latin name: Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi

    Jodi Rowley/Australian Museum

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Colour-changing thorny frogs

    Latin name: Gracixalus lumarius

    Judith L. Eger

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Long-fanged bat

    Latin name: Hypsugo dolichodon

    Neang Thy Moe/FFI

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Stealthy wolf snake

    Latin name: Lycodon zoosvictoriae

    Michael Janes

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Feathered coral

    Latin name: Ovabunda andamanensis

    Jerome Constant

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    World's second-longest insect

    Phryganistria heusii yentuensis

    Nantasak Pinkaew

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 8

    Latin name: Sirindhornia spp

    Tim Johnson

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 9

    Tylototriton shanorum

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>