‘Don’t ask’ bill OK’d by House, sent to Senate

December 16, 2010

By Seth McLaughlin-The Washington Times

Democrats jammed through the House a repeal of the ban on gays openly serving in the military, breathing new life Wednesday into a proposal that appeared dead a week ago and putting the pressure on the Senate to take up the vote before the end of the year.

But even with the successful 250-175 vote and a previous pledge from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada to take up the issue this year, it is unclear whether there’s enough time left in the lame-duck session for that to happen.

With lawmakers aiming to leave Washington as soon as possible, the proposal could get crowded out by the laundry list of items remaining on the legislative agenda, including a nuclear arms reduction treaty, an extension of tax cuts and passing a spending bill to keep the government funded into next year.

“It is my hope that we will encourage the Senate to take long overdue action,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on the House floor.

The bill would remove the policy only after the president, secretary of defense, and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff certifies that scrapping the ban would not hurt the military readiness and effectiveness, unit cohesion, and military recruiting and retention.

Wednesday’s vote came after the Pentagon released a long-awaited report last month that concluded that the overwhelming majority ofU.S. troops were not against seeing the policy repealed, but that nearly 60 percent of Army and Marine Corps warriors said open homosexuals in the ranks would damage war-fighting capabilities.

The White House repeated its support for repeal on Wednesday, releasing a statement that said, “the existing statute weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness, integrity, and equality.”

Republicans, though, said the issue needs to be studied further.

To read more, visit: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/dec/15/dont-ask-bill-okd-by-house-sent-to-senate/

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