Senate Republicans put the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in jeopardy this week as they stalled a Democrat proposal to end the Clinton-era policy which bars individuals from serving in the armed forces who publicly admit their homosexuality.
The delay came despite a Pentagon report issued earlier in December saying that repealing the law would not have a noticeable impact on military effectiveness.
The proposal to end the policy was part of a military spending bill that would address tax cuts. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said the debate over how the spending needed for the military could be covered in an era of tax cuts is why the measure failed, not because Republican senators are against repealing the policy. She called for further debate on the spending bill, but said that maintaining tax cuts should be the priority..
“I recognize time is at a premium, but there’s no reason why the Majority Leader could not have kept the Senate in session day, night and all weekend in order to finish the bill extending tax relief, the and other top legislative priorities,” Collins said in a statement referring to Sen. Harry Reid, (D-Nev.)
However, Reid told CBS News that Collins and her Republican colleagues were “throwing up these artificial roadblocks.”
Many opponents of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” remain optimistic that it can be repealed. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates hoped that a standalone bill introduced by Collins and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) would finally bring an end to the debate.
“There is still roughly a week left in the lame-duck session and so I would hope that the Congress would act to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” Gates told The New York Times.