Lawmakers: ‘DADT’ Repeal May Be Stripped from Defense Bill; Obama to Engage After Release of Pentagon Report

Senator Carl Levin acknowledges that the 'DADT' repeal amendment may have to be separated from the main Defense authorization bill:

Levin "I'm trying to get the bill through Congress. I'm the committee chairman for a 900 page bill. ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is two pages of 900 pages. My focus is different from the media focus. I'm just trying to get a bill passed," Levin told reporters at the Capitol building on Tuesday.

While no final decisions have been made, Levin said one option was to separate the language on repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" from the rest of the bill, and then making two separate efforts to pass the both pieces of legislation.

"I'm trying to get both done. And if I can't get both done, I want to get one of them done," Levin said.

He said no decisions will be made until Congress receives the military's survey on the effect of repealing the ban, details of which were leaked to the Washington Post.

Murphy And Rep. Patrick Murphy told the Washington Blade that Obama plans to get involved after the report comes out.

In an interview Tuesday with the Washington Blade, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) said Obama has been engaged in moving Congress to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and that this effort will expand once the Pentagon working group report — due Dec. 1 — is complete.

“I think there are different levels of engagement and, I think, once the report comes out, I think we’ll see the full spectrum of that engagement,” Murphy said.

The first Iraq war veteran elected to Congress said he expects this “full spectrum of engagement” to come from not only the White House, but also the president’s “own Department of Defense.”

Murphy also commented on the possibility of stripping the repeal amendment:

Amid reports that talks are taking place to potentially strip the defense authorization bill of its repeal language, Murphy said Republicans have sought a bill without the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” provision.

“I think that’s what the Republicans would like to see,” Murphy said. ”But I think those of us in the House and 78 percent of the American people and those in the military currently serving want to see the Senate do what’s right and repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and put it on the president’s desk, so he can sign it into law.”

With limited time remaining this Congress, it’s possible lawmakers won’t repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year, leaving Obama to come up with another game plan — perhaps non-congressional action such as a stop-loss order — to put an end to the gay ban.

Full transcript of Murphy interview at the Blade.


  1. Paul R says

    Feel free to heap scorn on me, but I’m getting sick of reading about DADT repeal. Not because I don’t support it, but because the process has dragged on for so long and is a constant reminder of the ignorance and bigotry of our country’s “leaders.”

    Not to mention, I have low hopes that it will actually happen, so constantly reading about it becomes an exercise in frustration and futility. I realize that all civil rights battles are long and gains are incremental, but trying to talk sense with the military is a waste of time. They always fall back on their tired canards about how civilians couldn’t possibly understand what it’s like in the military (even though only a small fraction of our military ever experiences combat).

    At this point I’d rather see progress on ENDA or DOMA or, well, anything really. It seems like we’ve pinned all our hopes on DADT repeal, but for strategic reasons ENDA would have been a better battle to fight. Old military men are intransigent on this issue, and until they’re retired or dead they’ll maintain their opposition regardless of the results of surveys, reports, etc. Whereas with ENDA it’s a clear matter of discrimination in civilian life, and no one can claim otherwise. And far more people are affected.

    Civil rights movements proceed in baby steps, and despite the fact that dozens of other countries allow openly gay troops, our country and military are backward in many ways. So this might not have been the best next step.

  2. Tigerama says

    I know I’ve said this before, but while I was rotting in military prison for being caught with another soldier, and was told that we might get out next month, or in three years, I didn’t really care much about anything other than being free and going home – the current soldiers are going through hell, and whether you’re tired of the story or not, it still deserves our complete support and scrutiny.

  3. Jake says

    Total BS. There will not be enough time to address DADT if they wait until after the military report is issued. They know what it contains, and a final vote will not happen until after it is released. Complete non-issue smoke screen by Levin.

    Obama flakes again … not that anyone should be surprised by that.

    This is just Sen. Levin trying to pass the buck back to Obama since he doesn’t have the backbone to take a stand on this issue either. Why the f*ck should anybody care what the Repugs think about this. They are not going to help … AT ALL … get over it and stop listening and compromising with them for votes you are never going to get for anything.

    How stupid are these Dems that keep trying after two years of unanimous NO votes from the other side of the isle.

    Sen. Levin needs to be flooded with calls and completely called out in the press on this. It’s his job to make sure this doesn’t get kicked down the road indefinitely *again* and he’s running like a scared little pig. Would be sad if it wasn’t so infuriating.

  4. Paul R says

    @Tigerama, I fully agree that it deserves constant support and scrutiny. I’m just drained by the piss-poor job our supposed allies have done in making anything happen. Everyone recognizes that DADT is BS, yet a small but vocal minority of military leaders and politicians have made it a hugely frustrating example of our government’s ineffectiveness.

    No one even really liked DADT in 1993 or thought it was destined as long-term policy, yet now they act like it’s a doctrine we’re supposed to embrace. I didn’t mean to cast aspersions on your service or sacrifice, and I’m sorry for your mistreatment. Again, I’m not tired of the story because I’m bored, but because it serves as a constant reminder of how gays are second-class citizens and our supposed leaders aren’t willing to change that. It gets depressing, but I’m not suggesting we give up the fight. I’m just not optimistic.

  5. princely54 says

    Look, this thing won’t pass in one month after being around and in action (inaction?) for the past 20 months or so. It’s a joke at this point and Obama’s “here I come!”…again…is pathetic.

    If he wanted to do it, it’d be done by now – or at least the ‘stop loss’ button would have been pushed. This administration looks like city council rank amateurs.

  6. says

    Well the liberals wanted a liberal congress and liberal administration.

    They sold us on this idea like snake-oil salesmen of having a liberal so-called utopia.

    Well you libs it is time to rip what you sown.

  7. TANK says

    I mean, we’re a constant target ridicule in the political right, and right wing entertainment. When some douchebag racist bitch says racist things to a mail carrier, she requires police protection…that doesn’t happen for people who insult the lgbt…ya know? We aren’t ready. When people like paul r are humiliated and shamed into complete silence until we have a consistent message instead of all of these idiots talking at once and about different things….in short, when these voices are turned into the alan keyes of our community…maybe then, we’ll be ready. Where’s the passion? Where’s the ferocity? Where’s the outrage? WHere’s the violent refusal to be discriminated against? Where’s the leverage from the threat of violence? We are simply not ready to be treated as equals.

  8. BartB says

    Who do these assholes think they are fooling? They strip this from the bill it has even LESS chance of passing on its own. Obama is rutterless and ineffective and wow oh wow, he’s going to “get engaged”? Really? Gee, thanks Mr. Hope and Change, thanks for all your support when you HAD the numbers, when you HAD the country behind you.

    I wish that every gay man and woman in the military would come out on the same day, walk off their jobs, their posts, off the battle field and see what happens to our military. It would be decimated.

    We have everything in this country, resources, good people, hard workers…and lots and lots of Puritan ignornace. With so much we as a Nation could do so much more if we could somehow unwind ignorance from religion, liberty from sexuality.

    But sadly, I can’t see that happening. There are just too many stupid people. Many who get elected to office because they scream the loudest.

  9. lessthan says

    I will add my voice to the chorus. Not Surprised At All. I was in the service, recently, and nobody I knew had a problem with homosexuals. For the senior leadership to drag their feet is ridiculous. I also looooved the “survey.” They didn’t survey us when they banned visible tattoos. Why the heck would they survey us about our homophobia? When I got out, people argued with me. “Oh, DADT will be repealed when the Democratics get into office.” Right.

  10. JimSur212 says

    Once again the anger is misplaced at Democrats. Carl Levin may have to remove DADT from the Defense Appropriations Bill because he needs 60 votes to pass it. Right now we have 54 to 56 of 58 Democrats ready to vote to repeal DADT. How many Republicans do we have? ZERO! May I repeat that for the Obama haters? Z E R O ! ! !

    So, of course I read above complaints about Obama, an imperfect but undeniably the best friend the gay community has EVER had in the White House – but not a word of criticism directed at John McCain, who is the man most responsible for blocking repeal. This country is not governed by Presidential dictatorship. The gay community has one problem and its not an Obama problem – it’s a Republican problem. Always has been.

  11. Major707 says

    Yeah, lets keep blaming the Republicans for the lack of action and leadership on gay rights! All this BS about 60 votes… when the President really wanted to get something done such as healthcare, he had the backbone to use his “bully pulpit” and all the leadership he could muster to get it done. Oh, and he had less public support for healthcare then the 70% + public support for repeal of DADT. Give me a break, the Democrats are the problem, not the solution. When they lose our money and our votes we will see action. Additionally, what have our “friends” the Democrats done with any real, serious gay rights bills…ENDA, DOMA, etc. ?

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