The House is now voting on H.R. 2965, which is the standalone DADT bill. Debate will last an hour, equally divided. This is it. Should be some good speeches on our side — and some hateful commentary from repeal opponents.
After the vote, there will be a press conference in the Rayburn Room of the Capitol:
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD), Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Patrick Murphy (PA-08) will be joined by Democratic Members, the Human Rights Campaign, Center for American Progress, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, and Service Members United for a press conference following consideration of House legislation to allow for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” today.
After the press conference, I think all the participants should march out the front doors of the House side, across the front of the Capitol and hold another presser in front of the Senate to demand a vote ASAP.
The Obama administration just issued a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) in support of H.R. 2965. For the record, this is much stronger than the last Administration position on DADT, which was issued on May 24, 2010. We’re in this mess because of the Administration’s strategy. Here’s the SAP:
The Administration strongly supports House passage of the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 2965, which would repeal the statute underlying “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” after the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that implementation of the necessary policies and regulations related to the statutory repeal is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces. Congressional enactment of this legislation would allow a repeal to be implemented under terms and a timetable that would be informed by the advice of our military leadership.
The recently-released comprehensive study by the Department of Defense shows that overwhelming majorities of our Service members are prepared to serve with Americans who are openly gay or lesbian; it concludes that overall, and with thorough preparation, there would be low risk associated with the repeal. The existing statute weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness, integrity, and equality.
We need to hear the President speak out forcefully, very forcefully, over the next couple days if this legislation is going to pass in the Senate. Secretary Gates better be working it, too.