Senate Republicans blocked legislation that would have overturned the military's ban on homosexuals, making a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" unlikely anytime soon.
Democrats failed to reach a deal on the legislation during the lame-duck session, even after support of the repeal seemed to be gaining new life Thursday.
The Washington Post reported Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine were willing to vote to get rid of the ban on gays serving openly in the military.
In the end though, a 57-40 test vote fell short of the 60 votes need to advance the measure included in the National Defense Authorization Act.
The legislation also included billions of dollars of government spending while the nation is trying to fight two wars.
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is the 1993 policy that bans troops from publicly acknowledging their sexual orientation.