The joint campaign
by the White House
and Pentagon to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell is now being considered by
the one body with the power to actually end the policy: Congress. Both
the House and Senate, in crafting the Department of Defense's annual
budget, must vote to include a provision repealing the policy that bans
openly gay service-members. How is this going? How likely is it to pass?
And what could possibly stop it?
- Heading for Victory as
Planned The Washington Monthly's Steve Benen beams, "we're
quickly approaching a new day -- one in which all American patriots will
be able to volunteer to serve their country and wear the uniform
proudly. It's change I can believe in." He adds, "About seven months
ago, a strategy was put in place to scrap the existing Don't Ask, Don't
Tell policy. Dems would add repeal to the defense appropriations bill,
get the White House's blessing, and wrap the whole thing up by the early
summer. ... everything appears to be going according to plan."
Approves Repeal The New York Times' David Herszenhorn and Carl
Hulse explain how it will work.
"The provision would allow military commanders to repeal the ban. The
repeal would permit gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military
for the first time," they write. "The repeal would be allowed 60 days
after a Pentagon report is completed on the ramifications of allowing
openly gay service members, and military leaders certify that it would
not be disruptive. The report is due by Dec. 1."
Committee Approves Repeal Paving the way for the repeal to be
considered by the full Senate, the Armed Services Committee approved the
provision on a 16 to 12 votes. It was not along party lines, with
Republican Susan Collins supporting and Democrat Jim Webb opposed, reports Fox News' Chad
- How Full Senate Could Vote Conservative
blogger Allahpundit predicts, "Will
Collins be the only Republican to risk the wrath of the base by
defecting? If she is, then Reid’s got a problem because Webb’s in line
to be the 41st vote for the GOP on a filibuster. Or maybe Webb will
decide that he doesn’t want to antagonize the nutroots quite that much
so he’ll vote for cloture but then vote no on the final bill. Which way
does Blanche Lincoln vote, though? Probably yes in order to protect
herself in the primary run-off in Arkansas, but that’ll be another
liability for her in the general (if she survives)."
GOP Push Against Repeal Think Progress' Igor Volsky chronicles,
"Armed Services Republicans threatened to
filibuster the defense authorization bill 'if it comes to the floor
with Democrat-backed language repealing DADT.' 'I’ll do everything in
my power,' Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said. 'I’m going to do everything
I can to support the men and women of the military and to fight what is
clearly a political agenda.' Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) agreed, promising
to support a filibuster 'if the repeal language makes it into the
version of the bill that goes to the floor, most likely after the
Memorial Day recess.'"
- Could F-35 Engine Kill It? In the
defense appropriation bill, which includes the DADT repeal, the House
also voted to include $485 million to buy a new F-35 Joint Strike
Fighter engine from General Electric. The only problem is the Pentagon
insists it neither needs nor wants the engine, and the White House has
suggested it might veto the entire defense bill in protest of the
unwanted engine. The Washington Independent's Spencer Ackerman worries, "If the conferees are unable to
strip the funding for the engine out,
Obama — who last night said repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would 'help
make our Armed Forces even stronger and more inclusive' — would
have to choose between infuriating his defense secretary [by approving
the engine] or abandoning
one of his central promises to [repeal DADT]."
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