Congress Kills Matthew Shepard Bill by attaching it to Military Funding Bill

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How to kill the Matthew Shepard Act without really trying:

The Matthew Shepard Act passed the House of Representatives pretty easily, but it was in trouble at the Senate. The Senate's solution? Insert it into a Pentagon funding bill. (Yes, they really did this.) That got enough Republican suport to allow the bill to pass in the Senate. Here's the catch: Now, the combined bill can't get past the House. Two reasons: Conservative Republicans don't like the hate crimes provision and liberal Democrats don't like the military spending bill:

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., was widely supported by Democrats and some moderate Senate Republicans. But because it was attached to a major defense policy bill that would have authorized more money for the Iraq war, many anti-war Democrats said they would oppose it.

''We don't have the votes,'' said one House Democratic aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because conference negotiations on the defense bill were ongoing. ''We're about 40 votes short, not four or six.''

So, they dropped the hate crimes provision in order to pass the spending bill.

Perversely, today I'm headed down to DC. Fortunately I'll be with teachers and union leadership folks and not with politicians.

Click here to read the New York Times story .

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