Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 11, 2009

THE STRATEGY FOR DADT REPEAL?.... As of today, H.R. 1283, the House bill to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," has 183 co-sponsors, which is quite a few. Apparently, though, there's a plan to help get the measure through without a stand-alone vote on the bill itself.

This year, Democrats were able to expand hate-crimes protections by adding an amendment to the Defense spending bill. Next year, the strategy is to do the same with DADT repeal.

A repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell" will be included in 2010's Defense Department authorization bill, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said.

"Military issues are always done as part of the overall authorization bill," Frank told The Advocate in an article published today. "'Don't ask, don't tell' was always going to be part of the military authorization."

Such a vote is expected to be held as early as Spring 2010.

This wasn't, by the way, idle speculation. Frank said he's been working directly with the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office on this.

Frank also defended the administration from criticism from gay-rights supporters, who've voiced frustrations about delays. The Massachusetts Democrat said the White House's resolve hasn't wavered. "The Administration is totally committed to this and has been from the beginning," he said.

Also note the legislative strategy here. Support for repealing DADT is quite strong, but there are plenty of antsy Democrats worried about re-election who may not want to tackle this as a freestanding bill. Adding it to Defense appropriations makes repeal both easier and more likely.

Steve Benen 4:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (12)

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Comments

Cool, if it works...will Repugnants refuse to "support our troops" with a big NO on repealing DADT?

Posted by: neill on November 11, 2009 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Steve. How could you not mention at the least the 234th birthday of the world's premier fighting force - The United States Marine Corps...

How about a little love for the boys who are the first to fight?

Posted by: Mack Padgett on November 11, 2009 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

After the huge clusterfuck health care reform is turning out to be (esp. the Stupak ammendment), the Democratic Congress needs something to show the progressive base it can deliver on their agenda. Unfortunately, unless the economy starts really roaring in '10, Democrats are going to be more on the defensive than ever come next year and the likelihood of getting a majority on board with a big hot button issue like this will be a lot slimmer than it is now. Dems are going to spend a lot of political capital to get health care done. Question is, will it be all of it?

Posted by: jonas on November 11, 2009 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Well, thankfully we aren't at war anywhere right now so there isn't really an urgent need for reform. Let's just put off doing anything until next year.

Whew, grover mintin' is hard work.

Posted by: doubtful on November 11, 2009 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Doubtful,

This is actually a brilliant legislative move. Defense authorization bills are really difficult to filibuster has their not being enacted in a timely manner creates all kinds of problems for the military and those districts with military bases/contractors. Such an measure makes it easier to enact the DADT repeal legislation and is a therefore a good idea.

Posted by: jalrin on November 11, 2009 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Well, thankfully we aren't at war anywhere right now so there isn't really an urgent need for reform. Let's just put off doing anything until next year.

It's horrible to ask people to keep waiting for justice. But given the reality of our crappy Congress, the choices are probably quite simple: Put it out there on its own now and lose, or put it in the defense bill next spring and win.

Posted by: shortstop on November 11, 2009 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

If this was the strategy all along, I have to wonder why Rep. Frank didn't include the repeal of DADT in the 2010 defense authorization bill? What is the purpose in making 65,000 gay and lesbian servicemembers lie and deceive others for another year?

This is nothing more than a delay tactic by Congress to avoid getting this legislation passed. Does anyone honestly believe Congress is going to vote to repeal DADT one month before hotly contested 2010 mid-term elections? Assuming that health care reform is completed in the next 6-months, the opposition can dedicate 100% of their noise machine towards their anti-gay agenda when this defense bill comes up for a vote.

Sadly, the economy is not going to improve substantially in 2010, and the Democrats risk losing their majorities in Congress. It is disgusting to think that they will squander 2 years worth of progressive majorities in Congress and not enact a repeal of DADT.

Posted by: Rich on November 11, 2009 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Sweet. Now add single-payer health care and global warming amendments to the Defense spending bill and we are good to go. Both can easily be classified as national security issues and their cost is bound to be only a blip on the defense budget. Git-R-dun!!!!

Posted by: Chopin on November 11, 2009 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

Rich @ 6:40 PM

"...why Rep. Frank didn't include the repeal of DADT in the 2010 Defense Authorization..."
Because they were planning on having it as a stand-alone Bill. Duh! The Congressional term is nearing the holiday recesses; there won't be time to put it through alone with all the other bills that already there. And then there is that little problem of enough votes. How many Republicans will vote for this? Note: I did NOT say: "How many Republicans signed on as supporters." There's a big, big difference.

"What is the purpose of making 65,000 gay and lesbian servicemembers lie and deceive others for another year?"
Practice makes perfect? And 65000? Not unless the numbers have sky-rocketed in the last decade.

"This is nothing more than a delay tactic..."
Please, use the approved terminology at all times! The correct usage is: "thrown under the bus". Don't forget it again!

"Does anyone honestly believe Congress is going to vote to repeal DADT one month before hotly contested 2010 mid-term elections?"
Evidently the plan is to vote on the next Defense Appropriations bill in April 2010; about six months BEFORE the elections. And then there's something about the wisdom of including repeal in a Defense Appropriations Bill in Mr. Benen's article. You might want to acquaint yourself with it.

"...the opposition can dedicate %100 of their noise machine towards their anti-gay agenda when this defense bill comes up for a vote."
I believe the correct response is: "Let 'em. Let the Republicans threaten not to vote for a Defense Appropriations Bill because it contains a repeal of DADT. I'm certain it will be stripped out to satisfy them and the Yellow Dog Dems; just as the Hate Crimes amendment was stripped out of this year's bill...

"It is disgusting to think..."
Well, THAT explains a lot!

"...squander 2 years worth of progressive majorities..."
And what planet are you living on? "Progressive majorities, my ass! The Progressive caucus contains what, 80 Representatives, if that. Fudging the definitions a little and we might get to around 150 members of the House who could be called progressive. And the Senate? Somewhere between 35-40 Senators could be included if we're "liberal" with our definitions. (good pun, no?).

All the gay and lesbian members of the armed forces have my best wishes and deepest sympathy for what they have to go through. I rather think they'll make it.
I did. For twenty years.

Posted by: Doug on November 11, 2009 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

"...why Rep. Frank didn't include the repeal of DADT in the 2010 Defense Authorization..."
Because they were planning on having it as a stand-alone Bill. -- Doug, @20:22, in response to Rich, @18:40

And because they included the hate-bill rider in *that* one (also). Which, IIRC, raised enough of a shit-storm among the Repubs, to make our brave Dems quiver. Bite-sized legislation is the fashion. Why you expect the pin-sized pricks (with grain-of-sand-sized balls) to do more, baffles me...

Posted by: exlibra on November 11, 2009 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

The defense authorization bill and the defense appropriations bill are two entirely separate bills.

Posted by: ving on November 12, 2009 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

I think it's disgusting that in order for lgbt soldiers to be treated equally to the heterosexual counterparts, we have to fund more war. Should we celebrate that our freedoms are being paid for with the blood of Iraqi and Afghan children?

Posted by: Lonnie Lopez on January 8, 2010 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK
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