The United States Senate voted to block discussion of the 2011 defense authorization bill on Tuesday, effectively halting the passing of the DREAM Act, which would have created a new route to citizenship for certain illegal immigrants, and the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
The Senate voted 56-43 to begin debate on the bill, falling short of the 60 votes needed. Following the tally, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who sponsored the bill, expressed his displeasure with the GOP's lockstep, according to WBEZ.com.
"Where is the justice in this decision? At least have the courage to let us bring this matter to the floor, and stand up and vote 'no'," said Durbin, quoted by the news provider. "But to hide behind this procedural ruse — this unanimous consent request — is totally unfair."
The DREAM Act amendment, if passed, would have allowed immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to gain citizenship if they met specific requirements, such as graduating from high school or pursuing military service.
The "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) policy bans openly gay, lesbian or bisexual Americans from enlisting in the military. The Pentagon is working on a review to determine the impact a repeal of DADT would have on the military.