Hate Crimes Bill Dead For Months
The Democrats' ploy of attaching the federal hates crimes bill (the Matthew Shepard Act) as an amendment to a Department of Defense appropriations bill did not work because the Dems also attached an amendment requiring troops to pull out of Iraq by May 1, prompting Republicans to plan a filibuster on the item. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pulled the bill from consideration last week. The bill will probably not be considered again until October or later.
Some gay rights groups such as the HRC continue to support attaching the MSA to the DOD bill, but others are silent. A similar ploy failed in 2004 when the Senate approved the hate crimes act as attached to a DOD appropriations bill, but the House did not allow it to come to a vote. This time the situation is reversed as the House approved its versions of the hate crimes act in May. Activists theorize that Bush would not dare veto a DOD bill, even with the MSA attached, so long as the troop withdrawal provision isn't there too.