Budget director Orszag: DADT repeal not in the budget because it’s so small, it amounts to ‘a rounding error’

UPDATE: Things even smaller, in terms of their budgetary impact, made it into the DOD budget, so why didn’t DADT repeal?

Moments ago, I got to ask OMB Director Peter Orszag why the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy wasn’t in the President’s budget, submitted to Congress today. DADT has a clear budgetary impact – it’s estimated to have cost between $500m and $1bn since it was implemented in 1993 – and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has called on the administration to included DADT repeal in their budget.

Orszag responded that we should ask DOD, and that the amount of money spent on enforcing DADT on an annual basis, $30m to $60m, is “so small” it amounts to “a rounding error,” and that’s why it might not show up in budget documents.

Well, a few problems with that. First off, we shouldn’t have to ask the Department of Defense why the President’s expressed policy of repealing DADT is not in their budget submission to Congress. Of course, given their druthers, DOD wouldn’t put the repeal in their budget ever. They’ve been trying to undercut the President’s promise from day one. The question is why the President didn’t overrule the people who work for him over at the Pentagon and included the repeal in the budget.

As for DADT being a “rounding error,” if it were so insignificant a policy, the President would just do it, and the Defense Department wouldn’t be bordering on rank insubordination in their ongoing efforts to stop it.

A short history of the Defense Department’s insubordination on this issue – this is just from the last few months:

Senior Pentagon Officials: Repeal of DADT ‘not imminent’
Why did the Joint Chiefs diss DADT repeal last night?
Pentagon considering whether gay troops need to be segregated ‘separate but equal’ style; secret gay meeting confirms ‘there is no plan’ on DADT
Chmn of Jt Chiefs’ office leaks memo to undercut Prez on DADT: ‘Now is not the time’

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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