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Tammy Baldwin signals new concerns about getting 60 votes for same-sex marriage bill


By Ted Barrett, CNN

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, the lead Democratic sponsor of a bill that would codify same-sex marriage that faces a key procedural vote as soon as next week, said Wednesday she’s concerned midterm politics are complicating her ability to reach a deal on the legislation.

“I think that we were ready to push for a vote for this right after the House voted overwhelmingly, in a bipartisan manner, to advance this,” Baldwin said, referencing how the House passed the bill in July 267 to 157.

In the Senate, however, the bill’s supporters need at least 10 Republicans on board in order to overcome a GOP filibuster.

“But now we’re getting ever closer to a certain date in November and I think that’s a new factor,” she added.

Baldwin explained that while she believes there could be 10 Republicans who support the final bill, she is less certain she could get 10 to break the filibuster, as procedural votes like that often fall on party lines, especially without a final deal on language.

“I think the problem we have right now is that I think there are 10 on final passage, but we need cooperation on procedural votes before we get there,” said Baldwin, who is the first known gay politician elected to the US Senate.

The Wisconsin senator has been negotiating for weeks with a handful of Republicans with religious liberty concerns who have signaled they might vote for the bill if it’s amended. But an agreement has remained elusive.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has vowed to hold a procedural vote next week to try to get it passed and Baldwin has said she would like that vote to happen even if she has not secured the backing of 10 Republicans, in hopes they would vote for it anyway.

Many Republicans are skeptical of the Democrats’ motives, believing they would rather see the bill, which would codify same-sex and interracial marriage, fail so they could use it as a campaign issue this fall. Republicans involved in the talks say they need more time to finalize the religious liberty language and would prefer Schumer not press for a vote before then.

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