|Even cnn.com had to "break the news" of two bills passing at once|
-Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: This was a two-for-one deal for Obama. The repeal of an ass-backwards law requiring gay soldiers to hide their sexuality was a campaign promise now honored, in addition to a civil rights milestone that will go down in history.
-New START: The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) requires both Russia and the United States to cut their nuclear arsenals by a third and provide unheard of access to launch sites by “the other side.” Given the national security implications in this treaty, it required 2/3rds of the Senate to pass this treaty. Senator John Kerry worked hard to bring colleagues from across the isle on board, including fellow Bay State Senator, Republican Scott Brown, who lobbied his GOP cohorts to get behind a treaty every living Republican Secretary of State had endorsed.
-9/11 First Responders Bill: The brave men and women who spend months in the rubble of the Ground Zero have been getting sicker and sicker as a result of the air-born toxins they were exposed to. This bill ensures that Uncle Sam foots their health care bills. Some called the bill “needless spending,” but after a very personal lobbying campaign by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in addition to visits to Washington from sick first-responders, the bill passed the same day as the START Treaty.
-Tax Breaks: Although this legislation wasn’t passed this week, it deserves mention. Plenty of left-wingers within the Democratic Party felt betrayed by the extension of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans, but this bill ensured support for an overwhelming percentage of Americans hit hard by the Great Recession. Prior to its passing, the GOP said they would block any and all legislative efforts that appeared before the Senate unless the Bush-era tax cuts were extended. Sometimes you have to make a deal with the devil, and if it were not for these extended tax cuts for all Americans, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, START, and the 9/11 First Responders Bill would have been failed legislation.