House Democratic Leadership: “All Options to Repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Are Now on the Table”
Washington, D.C. (December 14, 2010)—Ignoring the concerns raised by the top officers in the Air Force, Army and Marine Corps, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate are pushing ahead with plans to overturn the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. This renewed effort to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is gaining momentum even as the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011, which authorizes the Department of Defense and national security programs in the Department of Energy, moves into “uncharted territory.”
This morning’s “Huddle” column in Politico reported: “As early as Wednesday, the House could take up a stand-alone repeal of the military's ban on gay servicemembers revealing their orientation. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) have been working on the issue, and their language tracks with a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate last week.”
While the overarching legislation which provides for America’s military personnel and national security matters languishes on the back-burner, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated that House Democratic leaders will pull out all the stops to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Pelosi’s spokesman was quoted as saying, "’As we come to the end of the session, all options to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' are now on the table.’"
Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), the incoming Chairman of the House Armed Service Committee, criticized the misguided priorities of Congressional Democrats in the lame duck session and highlighted the need for comprehensive oversight on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
“Congressional Democrats continue to place a higher priority on repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ than the actual legislation which would provide for our nation’s security, troops and military services. The defense authorization bill could—and should—have been passed months ago, but Democratic leaders have held it up because of controversial social provisions. The American people and our troops demand better,” said McKeon.
“The repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is wrapped in emotion on both sides of the political spectrum. That intensity, along with the military service chiefs’ concerns that a repeal would negatively impact our force fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, demands a comprehensive review and intense oversight before we rush to make a change. Despite my request, the House Armed Services Committee has not held a hearing on the Pentagon’s report or implementation plan yet. Rushing to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in the waning hours of a lame duck session is extremely troublesome,” concluded McKeon.