Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) cast doubt on a lame-duck repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
When asked by host David Gregory whether or not the Senate will vote to repeal the policy in light of a recent Pentagon report stating as much as 70 percent of military servicemembers believed repeal would be positive or have no impact on the military’s morale, McConnell said that he favored Sen. John McCain’s (R-Az.) view on the issue and would “follow his lead.”
“People are talking like that, that is the only issue,” McConnell said. “That defense bill also has abortions in military hospitals. Once you get on the defense bill, it typically takes two weeks. I don't see how we can possibly finish the Defense Authorization Bill, a two-week bill, wholly aside from these controversial items that are in it — there are a whole lot of other things in it — before the end of the year.”
“My personal view is that Senator McCain is correct on this. I intend to follow his lead. We’ll find out when we finally get around to debating this bill, which I think will not be before the end of the year.”
Republican leaders in Congress have made lengthening the Bush-era tax cuts a priority in the lame-duck session and threatened to block all legislation until they were extended.
The Senate Armed Services Committee, of which McCain is the ranking Republican member, heard testimony last week from the military service chiefs, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen. Gates and Mullen called for the policy to be repealed immediately, while the service chiefs called for a delay in repeal until combat operations cease.