Dem Senator Skips Big Saturday Votes for Holiday Party

By Dschabner

Dec 18, 2010 3:56pm

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports:

There was one Democratic senator who missed today’s crucial votes on Capitol Hill: West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, who was elected just last month.

So where was Manchin when the Senate finally passed the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal and took one last shot at the DREAM Act immigration bill?

At a holiday party.

“Sen. Manchin and his wife Gayle planned a holiday gathering over a year ago with all their children and grandchildren as they will not all be together on Christmas Day. While he regrets missing the votes, it was a family obligation that he just could not break,” Manchin spokeswoman Sara Payne Scarbro said. “However, he has been clear on where he stands on the issues.”

Where he stands on the issues is in direct opposition to the vast majority of his party. Manchin does not support the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” because of concerns about the “the timing and the impact of the repeal's implementation on our front line combat troops during a time of war.” And he does not support the DREAM Act because he believes it should require the completion of a degree.

At this morning’s key procedural votes, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal passed by three votes, but the DREAM Act failed by five votes.

While Manchin today attended his holiday gathering, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., elected to stay on the Hill to vote, even though he is set to have surgery for prostate cancer on Monday.

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