This Week, Lame Duck Scrambling For Gay And Immigrant Rights

The scramble to get anything done in the waning days of the Democratic-controlled Congress has come down to a few pieces of legislation, including Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the DREAM Act. What are their chances for success?

The tax deal taking shape is overshadowing all other dealmaking, and the White House is also worried about the fate of the START treaty with Russia, which needs to pass the Senate. Democrats in the Senate are having to pick and choose their priorities in the limited amount of time left.

The House passed the DREAM act yesterday, and the Senate is expected to vote on it at 11am EST today. The bill would create a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, if they attend college or serve in the military for two years. But despite Obama's support, it's not expected to clear the Senate. (It's lagged in Congress for a decade, and while it once had bipartisan support and the CBO says it would be a net gain for the economy, Republicans are dead set against it now.)

The fate of Don't Ask Don't Tell is less certain, although it could be worse: Three Republicans (Lisa Murkowski, Scott Brown, Susan Collins) have said they'd support repeal, and so has conservative Democrat Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Yesterday, Harry Reid freaked out supporters by calling a vote for that same evening — Susan Collins had said she'd support repeal but was still making massive procedural demands about a long debate and amendments, and that could have killed it — but changed his mind and postponed it until a date yet to be determined. Obama, having been criticized for being too passive on Don't Ask, Don't Tell before, is said to be making calls personally. You can find a list of key Senators to call here.

House Sends DREAM Act to Senate [Politico]
Senate Postpones Don't Ask Vote [NYT]
Obama Making Calls On Don't Ask Repeal [Politico]