Democrats' Big Vote Today: Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the DREAM Act

It's a big Senate votin' day! Two acts favored by the Democratic base — the immigrant-friendly DREAM Act and a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell — are included in today's defense bill. But will Republicans successfully filibuster?

The Democrats need 60 votes to end debate on this defense authorization bill. They're hoping that by attaching the DADT repeal and the DREAM act — which would provide a path to citizenship for children of illegal immigrants via military service or higher education — to this overarching military bill, they can flip a couple of votes from the Republicans.

The vote is scheduled for early this afternoon. Will Democrats get the 60 votes they need? As always, it will come down to those two Maine gals:

As today's vote neared, advocates for repeal stepped up their lobbying. They paid particular attention to the two moderate Republican senators from Maine, Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins. Ms. Collins voted on the Armed Services committee to support the repeal, but both senators have expressed concern about the defense spending bill, largely on procedural grounds.

In a statement on Monday, Ms. Snowe said that the Democratic leadership should allow Republicans to offer amendments to the defense bill.

"The Senate should have the ability to debate more than the three amendments the majority leader is allowing, especially as this bill is the largest discretionary authorization measure that Congress considers," Ms. Snowe said in the statement.

Neither Snowe nor Collins seems likely to budge. But we'll see! It could always be another Republican who flips, like Massachusetts' Scott Brown, or some old retiring dude like Ohio's George Voinovich who just doesn't give a shit anymore.

Lady Gaga has done her work, at least.

[Image from Maine's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" protest yesterday via Getty]