December 14, 2010
By Adam Bink
This morning, Reps. Hoyer and Patrick Murphy announced they would introduce a free-standing companion bill to the Lieberman/Collins stand-alone bill to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the Senate. The bill language would have identical text. In a statement, Rep. Hoyer, the Majority Leader, said:
“Today Rep. Patrick Murphy is introducing a new standalone bill to to allow for repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and I am proud to join him as the lead co-sponsor. As Secretary Gates and others have stressed, it is critical that Congress pass this legislation, empowering the Defense Department to implement repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ itself, rather than have repeal imposed by the Courts,” said Hoyer.
“I look forward to bringing this bill to the House floor soon, and I hope the Senate will swiftly take action as well so that the bill can be signed into law as soon as possible. This discriminatory and harmful policy has weakened America’s security by depriving us of the work of tens of thousands of gay and lesbian troops who have served their country honorably. And it has severely compromised our Armed Forces’ core value of integrity,” concluded Hoyer.
It’s not only good (and expected) news, but it’s good timing. House passage could increase pressure on the Senate to move on repeal to send the bill to the President’s desk. With the other way around, the House would have had to stick around in town while the Senate dealt with matters that didn’t require House action, like the START treaty. This way, the House gets repeal off its plate and then the Senate has one less excuse to not extend the session and move on the bill.
Also, the House leadership announced it will take a vote tomorrow on this bill. We’re going to use the 2nd of two procedures I outlined in my state of play piece– the one that will save time. The House will simply use a bill that has already been passed back and forth between the two houses and add DADT repeal language (recall that the House has already voted in support of DADT repeal directly, straight-up, via the Murphy amendment over the Memorial Day period). This allows us to avoid a motion to proceed vote if we started with a bill from scratch in the Senate, which requires 60 votes and can take up a good chunk of time (30 hours’ time to allow the cloture motion to “mature”). We can thus proceed directly to the bill itself and save a few days in the Senate, which is helpful given the calendar issues. If the Senate passes the House bill and there are no amendments (amendments would require it to be sent back to the House), then it would go to the President’s desk and we win.
Also, as more and more friends and colleagues have asked me what are the chances repeal of the statute will be signed by the President, Rep. Barney Frank tells it like it is (to Metro Weekly):
Of the standalone DADT repeal bill being introduced today in the House, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) told Metro Weekly, “There would be no point doing this if there wasn’t a real chance to get this done in the Senate.”
Saying that the effort unveiled by Hoyer today happened only in conjunction with “conversations with the Senate,” Frank said that a “number of Republicans have hidden behind procedure on this” — but that “[t]hose [issues] appear to be getting resolved.
Saying that he was confident in the House’s ability to pass the standalone repeal bill, he added of the Senate chances for passage, “I’d say there’s a better than even chance.”
He’s absolutely right.
We’re still not 100% sure that the 60 pro-repeal Senators will support the stand-alone Lieberman/Collins bill, so let’s keep those calls flowing in. Target list is below.
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): 202-224-6665 (supports repeal, but mixed signals on the stand-alone bill)
George Voinovich (R-OH): 202-224-3353 (no position)
Olympia Snowe (R-ME): 202-224-5344 (no position)
Richard Lugar (R-IN): 202-224-4814 (no position)
Judd Gregg (R-NH): 202-224-3324 (no position)
Scott Brown (R-MA): 202-224-4543 (supports repeal, but has not made a position clear yet on the stand-alone bill)
Kit Bond (R-MO): 202-224-5721 (no position)
Mark Kirk (R-IL): 202-224-2854 (no position)
Joe Manchin (D-WV): 202-224-3954 (no position, but mixed signals on repeal)
After making your calls please leave a quick comment on how it went on this page and in the comments.
As with the Houston Texans’ insane game-winning drives last night that cost my fantasy team a shot at the league championship (damn you Matt Schaub), the ball is moving down the field. Let’s get it into the end zone.