Republicans Engage In Last Ditch Effort To Block DADT Repeal
Just hours before President Obama is set to sign the bill repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell into law, Republicans in Congress attempted a last minute effort to stymie the review process that the law requires before repeal is implemented:
Republicans in the Senate filed an amendment to a sweeping defense authorization bill that would have required the four military service chiefs to be part of the certification process called for in the bill that repeals the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
That would have put Marine Corps chief General James Amos, a vocal opponent of the repeal, in line to delay or potentially prevent its implementation. The amendment was filed late Tuesday to the defense measure, which could be voted on in the Senate on Wednesday.
But Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader from Kentucky, said late Tuesday night that an objection from a senator had been registered to the last-minute amendment and that it would not be included as part of the defense authorization bill.
Mr. Stewart made the remarks after advocates of repeal scrambled late Tuesday night to assess the potential impact of the amendment and to prevent its inclusion in the otherwise uncontroversial military spending bill. A senior Democratic aide in the Senate said “this would be a poison pill for DADT repeal.”
The repeal of the ban on open service in the military by gay people requires that the president, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, certify that the repeal can be carried out without affecting readiness.
The amendment that had been under consideration would have added to that list the four service chiefs, including Mr. Amos.
“This is all about politics, not about policy,” said Fred Sainz, a spokesman for Human Rights Campaign. “It’s a total end run by the Republicans. In spite of the fact that they know that Gates and Mullens are opposed to this, they are still going forward in the hopes of obstructing repeal. It’s absolutely shameful.
It remains unclear which Republican filed the amendment to the defense authorization bill.
I think it would not be too far of a stretch to guess that the Senator in question is none other than John McCain