Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Greg Sargent maps out the DADT repeal plan from here:

As you know, the news broke this morning that the Pentagon will release its much-anticipated report gauging the impact of repeal on November 30th, one day earlier than expected. It's reported to find that the policy can be repealed with only minimum and isolated risk. So how does this change the game?

The central question still remains: Will the Senate Democratic leadership agree to hold a cloture vote on the Defense Authorization Bill containing repeal, and will the leadership commit to a two week period of floor debate? This is key because in combination with the Pentagon report, holding this debate -- and allowing the full and open amendment process that Republicans have insisted on -- could remove the last pretext GOP moderates have to withold their support.

So here's what to watch: A senior leadership aide tells me the final decision on whether to hold that cloture vote and open debate will likely be made later next week. That's because Senator Carl Levin, who chairs the Armed Services Committee, has said he will hold hearings later next week on the released Pentagon report. The Senate Dem leadership intends to watch closely how the moderate GOP Senators publicly react to the Pentagon report in those hearings. If they seem to be softening, the prospect of getting 60 votes for repeal increases -- this is a real possibility, as far-fetched as it may seem -- which would ratchet up the pressure on Senate Dems to allow the cloture vote and agree to the protracted floor debate.

In other words, Carl Levin wants a public hearing, no doubt to shame moderates in both parties into voting for this.  It's a solid plan and one I think is going to work.

On the other hand, this plan does depend on Harry Reid following through on this.  And that's never a sure thing.  The hearings may be to pressure Reid more than Republicans, several of which have already come out in favor of repeal.

And again, the major obstacle to all this is Sen. John McCain, who continues to hold up proceedings even though he no longer has an argument.

In late September, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) wrote a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates expressing his concerns that the Pentagon’s Working Group review of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was operating under the condition that “the policy will be repealed” rather than studying if it should be changed. “I urge you and Admiral Mullen to modify the review and the survey instrument, or to conduct supplemental surveys, aimed at ensuring that the question of whether the DADT policy should be changed is answered,” McCain wrote in a letter dated September 28, 2010. [Read a copy of McCain's letter HERE]

Responding to the Senator’s request in a previously unreleased letter from October 25, 2010, Gates explained that the review was not a “referendum” on the policy, stressing, “I do not believe that military policy decisions — on this or any other subject — should be made through a referendum of Servicemembers.” He also emphasized that the final report would inform military leaders of the impacts of lifting the ban and help guide Congress in its decision making. 

Still not good enough for Johnny Volcano, who has changed his mind on DADT yet again and now says yet another study is needed...

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