Standalone DADT Repeal Bill Introduced In Senate

After the Defense Authorization Bill failed to gain enough support to invoke cloture for the second time, opponents of Don’t Ask Don’t tell are trying a new strategy:

Trying to revive one of the year’s most tumultuous legislative endeavors, senators on Friday introduced a new bill — with significant support — that would end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays serving openly in the military.

The measure introduced by Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) uses the same language authorizing an end to the ban that was included in an annual defense bill that failed a procedural vote on Thursday.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) are cosponsoring the measure and other senators are expected to sign on throughout the day, according to Senate aides not authorized to speak on the record.

Lieberman and Collins first hatched their plans during Thursday’s vote on the defense bill, concluding that a standalone measure would ultimately succeed if introduced after senators vote on tax cut legislation. Lieberman approached Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) to discuss the bill. The leader, who reluctantly called the procedural vote to jumpstart the Senate calendar, promised Lieberman that he would co-sponsor the bill and introduce it later under a rule that permits the majority leader to bypass the committee process and introduce bills to the full Senate, according to multiple aides.

Even if the bill can somehow make it to the Senate floor next week, though, it’s hard to see how it could get through the House before that body adjourns at the end of next week. For better or worse, it looks like DADT repeal will be left to the courts.

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.