Civil rights measures face Senate roadblock

Reps. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Jared Polis of Colorado, two of the three openly gay members of the U.S. House, say the 60-vote threshold for passing bills in the U.S. Senate will likely block several pieces of legislation expected to pass the House.

Extension of domestic partner benefits to the spouses of LGBT federal civilian employees, repeal of “Don’t ask/Don’t tell” and language to bring gays under employment non-discrimination law are all expected to have a good chance of passage in the House. But the Senate is another matter. According to the Bay Area Reporter, Baldwin said in San Francisco last week that Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid will probably try to attach some or all of the measures to other, unrelated bills.

“I haven’t spoken to [Reid], but he is looking through that 60-vote challenge. My sense is he is looking for bills he can attach things to,” said Baldwin. “Sen. Reid is committed to finding these vehicles to pass them through.”