About a dozen U.S. senators held a press conference yesterday to address a possible repeal of the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy during the current lame duck session of Congress.
President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have called for the policy to be repealed before mid-January, when Republicans take control of the House.
Though the conference featured mostly Democrats, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) joined the caucus to say that he believed the required number of votes to pass the repeal was in hand. Lieberman said that GOP Sens. Susan Collins (R-Me.) and Richard Lugar (R-In.) could be counted on to vote in favor of repeal if a compromise could be reached between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Lawmakers: Repeal of military gay ban possible in lame-duck Congress
Reid said on Wednesday that he was committed to bringing the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill up for another vote during the lame duck session, with DADT repeal language included. A previous attempt to pass the Defense Authorization Bill was blocked by Republicans over procedure in late September.
Republicans wanted to add unlimited amendments to the bill, while Reid was unwilling to debate on any more than three.
“I am confident that we have more than 60 votes prepared to take up the Defense Authorization Bill, with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” if only there will be a guarantee of a fair and open amendment process,” Lieberman said.
The Pentagon is currently finalizing a report on the policy. Early leaks of the information contained in the report suggest that an overwhelming majority of servicemembers would not have a problem if the policy were to be repealed. The full report is due Dec. 1.