Graham: Repeal of ‘don’t ask’ unlikely

November 29, 2010

By Joseph Weber-The Washington Times

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Sunday the Senate likely doesn’t have enough Republican votes during Congress‘ lame-duck session to lift the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

“I think in a lame-duck setting, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is not going anywhere,” Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

The statement puts renewed pressure on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, who has vowed to call for a full Senate vote on the issue before the congressional session ends at Christmas break.

Mr. Graham‘s long-standing position has been that Congress should wait until the release of a Pentagon study on how lifting such a ban would affect the military and that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and other Democrats pushed for the repeal before the November elections to appeal to their base.

U.S. military officials are expected Tuesday on Capitol Hill to discuss the findings of the study, followed by scheduled hearings Thursday and Friday.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, support lifting the ban. However, Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, has said lifting the ban would in part be disruptive to combat units while the U.S. remains at war. Mr. Graham, an Air Force lawyer, makes a similar argument.

“No one is fooled by what’s going on here,” Mr. Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in May when the committee voted 16 to 12 in favor of legislation that included lifting the ban.

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