Patrick Murphy steps up on DADT

PATRICK MURPHY STEPS UP ON DADT…. Former Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) was the lead sponsor of a House bill to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” With Tauscher having stepped down from the House to serve in the State Department, it’s good to see Patrick Murphy picking up where she left off.

Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) has taken up the mantle as the chief opponent of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” in Congress, and he’s confident the policy banning gays from serving openly in the military will get its first full committee hearing in a decade and a half this session.

Murphy, a second-term Democrat, will be lead sponsor of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell” — a policy first passed by Congress and signed into law under President Bill Clinton.

“It’s our job,” Murphy said of a repeal. “This was an act of Congress in 1993 and it will take an act of Congress” to reverse it.

As of last week, the bill (H.R.1283) had 150 co-sponsors, with additional members signing on all the time. The Hill added that Murphy’s efforts have given the legislation “new momentum.” Since Murphy became the lead sponsor, the bill “has attracted six additional co-sponsors.”

This may have something to do with Murphy’s background: “In addition to serving two deployments in Bosnia and in Baghdad, Murphy was awarded a Bronze Star and his unit earned the Presidential Unit Citation. He is also a former West Point professor and an ex-military attorney.”

Republicans might try to argue that Murphy doesn’t understand issues like unit cohesion, but it’s not likely to stick.

Then again, the congressional minority probably won’t care. DADT is, fundamentally, an indefensible policy. It’s not only discriminatory and fundamentally unfair to Americans willing to put their lives on the line for all of us, it also undermines our national security interests and military readiness. But for most House Republicans, the culture war matters more.

Of course, the bill doesn’t need to pass with a bipartisan majority; it just needs to pass.

Murphy boasts that H.R.1283 supporters “will have the votes in the House,” though he expects passing to “take a few months.” President Obama will sign the measure into law, though it’s unclear how the Senate would handle the bill.