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Senate Minority Leader doubts lame-duck ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal

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.”

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Service chiefs say DADT should be repealed but question timing

The Senate Armed Services Committee

The Senate Armed Services Committee held a second day of testimony on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in light of a recent Pentagon report that suggests servicemembers were mostly positive or neutral to a repeal of the policy.

The leaders of each branch of the military stated that the policy could be repealed with limited disruption to military readiness and unit cohesion.

Each of the service chiefs suggested that the military would be able to handle a repeal, though several disagreed on the timing. Gen. Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff for the Air Force, suggested deferring repeal in 2012, though he acknowledged the Air Force could handle a repeal with limited risk.

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Lindsey Graham casts doubt on DADT repeal ahead of Pentagon report

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed the possible lame-duck congressional repeal of the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy this weekend on Fox News Sunday.

Graham insisted that the required number of votes to break a Senate filibuster were not in place, especially on the Republican side of the aisle.

He also said the motivation for repeal was for political gain.

“The question that was asked of our military members is how would you implement ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ once it's repealed,” Graham told host Chris Wallace. “They didn't ask the question, ‘Should it be repealed?’ This is a political promise made by Sen. Obama when he was running for president.”

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Senate schedules ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ hearings

Senator Carl Levin chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hear testimony regarding a Pentagon study on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on Dec. 2 and 3.

According to the Armed Services Committee website, the session will feature the full committee.

Scheduled to testify on Dec. 2 are Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and General Carter Ham (co-chair of the Review Working Group).

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Support from military joint chiefs not needed to repeal gay ban?

President Barack Obama pledges to move forward on DADT without Joint Chiefs support

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Nov. 22 said he’s unsure whether the results of the Pentagon study on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will move the four service chiefs to support an end to the law as he suggested that unanimous support among the military leaders won’t be necessary for moving forward.

Asked by the Washington Blade, an LGBT newspaper, whether President Obama anticipates that the service chiefs will favor repeal following the completion of the Pentagon report, Gibbs said he doesn’t “want to presume” where they would stand after the study is finished, noting the president hasn’t yet seen it.

“I think the service chiefs as I understand it are meeting with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the secretary as we get closer to this report coming out in order to discuss where they are based on that survey,” Gibbs said. “The president has not yet seen that survey, so I don’t want to presume whether based on those results that would change their opinions on it.”