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Still Hope for Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

May 15, 2010

Kerry Eleveld is reporting in The Advocate that despite Secretary Gates request that Congress not pursue a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” until the Pentagon study is completed (after the midterm elections), Senators Carl Levin and Joe Lieberman are still pushing to include repeal in the Department of Defense Authorization.  Widely seen as the most effect vehicle to pass the repeal of DADT, the Department of Defense Authorization could have included language to repeal at the President’s request, or in the mark up of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  I discussed this process in an earlier post here. Eleveld’s sources say that Levin and Lieberman are currently one or two votes short of what they need.  In the House, Rep. Murphy is continuing his leadership on this issue.

It’s unclear exactly where that leaves the White House.  I can’t imagine the White House ever vetoing the Dept. of Defense Authorization over a policy change they publicly support, but the timeline will present something of a challenge.  From Eleveld’s piece:

A second source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the White House was partially in a bind based on an agreement White House officials had made with Defense Department officials earlier this year to let the Pentagon’s working group study reach completion before pushing for a repeal vote…

…White House press secretary Robert Gibbs has repeatedly declined to say whether the president favors legislative action this year.

But during an April briefing he said the president was committed to letting the working group complete its study.

“The president has set forward a process with the Joint — the chair of the Joint Chiefs and with the secretary of Defense to work through this issue,” he said.

Pressed on whether that study would have to be completed before legislative action was taken, Gibbs added, “Well, again — the House and the Senate are obviously a different branch of government. The president has a process and a proposal I think that he believes is the best way forward to seeing, again, the commitment that he’s made for many years in trying to — changing that law.”

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