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House Passes Standalone DADT Repeal

Not surprisingly, the House of Representatives easily passed a standalone bill to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:

The House of Representatives Wednesday handily approved a repeal of a ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military, ratcheting up the pressure on Senate Republicans who have resisted holding a vote to overturn the ban on procedural grounds.

Last week, in a vote of 57-40, the Senate failed to break a Republican filibuster against a broader military policy bill that would have repealed the so-called “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban, with only one Republican, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, supporting the repeal.

Falling three votes short of the 60 needed to advance the legislation, the Clinton-era policy seemed destined to stand until Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland and Representative Patrick J. Murphy of Pennsylvania, an Iraq war veteran — at the behest of Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, an Independent from Connecticut and Ms. Collins — agreed to make a final effort.

By taking the repeal component out of the larger military measure, Democrats hoped to obviate the complaints made by Senate Republicans that Democrats had not allowed sufficient time to debate that larger bill.

Saying the policy “contravenes our American value,” Representative Nancy Pelosi, the outgoing Speaker of the House, urged her colleagues to support the standalone measure. A vigorous debate ensued, but the bill was affirmed anew by the House 250 to 175. “It is never too late to do the right thing,” said Mr. Hoyer, who has been the biggest champion in the House for repeal.

The House bill now goes back to the Senate as a privileged bill, meaning that Mr. Reid can now call it up without the usual voting procedure that takes days to conclude. As such, the pressure is stronger on those Republicans, who will now have to either explain their reasons for rejecting it or change their vote. Among Republicans, Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine and Senator Dick Lugar of Indiana have indicated they could be open to voting for a repeal.

So, the ball is in your court GOP.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook