This is extremely worrisome. We’ve been saying for almost two years that Obama and the Hill Democrats needed to deliver on their campaign promises, including the repeal of DADT. Instead, they dawdled. The White House refused to push the legislation until their hand was forced. Now, we’re reaching a critical point.
IF REPUBLICANS WIN THE HOUSE – Lobbyists predict that defense bills will come to a screeching halt, which could spell doom for the already controversial defense authorization bill. They provide a couple of reasons: The level of partisan bickering is likely to intensify, and waiting and letting Republicans handle those bills next year will allow the Democrats to play the blame game. The one kind of legislation that’s likely to move, insiders say, is a continuing resolution. To that end, the appropriations committees have drafted two – one that runs through Nov. 15 and another that will last until the end of January.
If there’s no defense authorization bill, there’s not going to be any DADT language this year. The House passed its version of the bill and it includes the compromise language (that language, concocted by Winnie Stachelberg at CAP, sets up a complicated process that doesn’t even establish an end date for the law.) The Senate Armed Services Committee added the compromise DADT language. But, the full Senate has yet to act. The Senate needs to take up the defense authorization bill as soon as they get back from the August recess. Then, that bill has to get to conference ASAP.
We can expect procedural shenanigans from John McCain and his GOP colleagues whenever the defense authorization bill hits the floor. He could filibuster the bill, move to strike the DADT language or try to amend the DADT language to include what SLDN calls the “killer amendment” of adding all the Service Chiefs to the certification process. All of these tactics could slow down final passage of the legislation. The way the schedule is now, even if everything goes according to plan, final passage wouldn’t take place until after the elections. That’s means we’re already in the lame duck session. As John explained last month, Democrats are already bending over backwards to assure Republicans they won’t pass legislation during the lame duck session. Now, we’re learning that there could be no authorization bill if the GOPers take the House.
So, yeah, the elections matter. We know that. But, we’ve been told we needed to elect Democrats in order to get the full repeal of DADT, passage of ENDA and repeal of DOMA. We did our part to help. And, what have we gotten? No ENDA. No DOMA repeal. And, we might get a law that starts the process of ending DADT.