Main | Friday, May 28, 2010

House Passes Full Defense Spending Bill With DADT Repeal Attached

Last night the House of Representatives voted in favor of attaching the compromise DADT repeal to its massive Defense spending bill. Although some GOP reps attempted to derail the full bill today, it has just passed by a similar partisan vote. Now the fight returns to the Senate. The Dallas Voice reports:

The Senate Armed Services Committee voted last night to approve the same amendment to their version of the defense bill, but Republicans in the Senate have vowed to keep fighting the amendment when it comes to the Senate floor for a vote. They have said they will filibuster the whole defense bill to try and kill DADT repeal. Even if the amendment passes in the Senate, too, the policy will not be immediately repealed, thanks to a compromise requiring implementation of the repeal to wait until the Pentagon completes a study on its impact — expected in December. Then the president, the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would have to certify that the repeal wouldn’t hurt military readiness. THEN, when all those hoops are jumped through, there would be a 60 day waiting period before the policy is actually repealed.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has issued the below statement.
With today's successful final passage vote on the defense budget bill, the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' continues to move forward. We now look to the full senate to pass DADT repeal by mid-summer and bring the defense bill to the President's desk by October 1. While the votes in the House and the Senate Armed Services Committee are historic, it is important for all gay and lesbian, active-duty service members, including those in the reserves and the national guard, to know they're at risk. They must continue to serve in silence under the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law that remains on the books. Congress and the Pentagon need to stay on track to get repeal finalized, hopefully no later than first quarter 2011. We thank House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Patrick Murphy for their leadership and working to make sure we had a solid vote in the face of tough opposition.
But the president says that he'll VETO the Defense bill unless Congress fixes issues he has with the planned purchase of fighter planes.
"As the Congress continues its work on funding bills for the Department of Defense, I want to reiterate my strong support for the reforms Secretary Gates is advancing at the Pentagon. He has kept me fully apprised of his efforts to reform how our military operates and bring needed efficiencies to the Department of Defense. I stand squarely behind Secretary Gates' position on the JSF second engine and C-17 programs. As the Statement of Administration Policy made clear, our military does not want or need these programs being pushed by the Congress, and should Congress ignore this fact, I will veto any such legislation so that it can be returned to me without those provisions."
And on and on we go....

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