REPUBLICANS TAKE ONE LAST SHOT AT PROTECTING DADT…. In about an hour, the White House will host a signing ceremony at which President Obama will repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. But last night, Senate Republicans made one more, last-ditch effort.
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.
The push was blocked, thankfully, by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). Nevertheless, the fact that Republicans are still, even now, trying to undermine DADT repeal is kind of sad.
The Senate will likely take up the larger defense authorization bill, without the poison pill, this morning. The majority hopes to get unanimous consent, though one never really knows what Republicans might object to.
On a related note, in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi hosted a stirring event yesterday to sign the discharge petition that formally sent the DADT repeal bill to the White House. She was joined by hundreds of lawmakers and U.S. soldiers who’d been punished by the policy.
“Isn’t this a joyful day?” she said, adding that the repeal measure will “change the law, improve the policy, make life better for many Americans, and make our country stronger.”
Pelosi then asked all in attendance to sing “God Bless America.” At the end, Democratic Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, one of the first openly gay House members, could be seen wiping his eyes.
Earlier, Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania told the gathering of an e-mail he received from a company commander in Afghanistan, who mentioned how he often had to counsel soldiers who received divorce papers or “Dear John” letters from spouses or opposite-sex partners.
Murphy continued: “This young company commander, this captain, on his fourth deployment, wrote in that e-mail saying, ‘I never thought I’d see the day when I got one of those letters myself. And I’m sitting here at three o’clock in the morning in Kabul, Afghanistan, and I have nowhere to go because I happen to be gay, and I can’t walk to the chaplain, and I can’t go to a battle buddy, and I can’t walk to my commander’s office, so I’m sitting here cradling my 9 mm pistol thinking about blowing my brains out. But I read this article about this Iraq war veteran named Patrick Murphy from Pennsylvania that’s fighting for me, and it gives me hope.’”
The fact that this bill will be signed into law gives a lot of people hope.