Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Levin open to dropping 'don't ask' from defense bill

By Ed O'Keefe

The Senate will not consider ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy until after it holds hearings on a Pentagon report studying the issue, a key Senate Democrat said Tuesday.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said he wants the Senate to pass a repeal of the military's ban on gays serving openly in the military and the legislation setting military spending and policy for fiscal 2011 during the lame-duck session, but is open to holding separate votes on the issues.

"I'm going to try to get both done," Levin told reporters.

Several senators have said they will not decide how to vote until reading a forthcoming Pentagon report on how lifting the gay ban could impact troop readiness and morale.

Levin said his committee would hold hearings on the report shortly after its scheduled Dec. 1 release. The report concludes that the military can lift the ban with only minimal and isolated incidents of risk to current war efforts, The Washington Post reported last week.

Levin said last week he asked Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to release the report in full. The Defense Department does not plan to release the report before Dec. 1, spokesman Geoff Morrell said Tuesday.

Levin appeared irked by the outsized attention afforded to the issue of gays in the military, noting it's buried within a massive bill addressing weapons systems, aircraft, and troop pay and benefits.

"See that bill?" Levin said as he removed a copy of the bill from a folder. "The bill has 849 pages and only two of them are 'don' t ask, don't tell.' The rest have to do with our troops, they have to do with a whole lot of critically important things."

Efforts to end "don't ask, don't tell" stalled in September when Senate Republicans voted unanimously against moving to debate on the bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) remains supportive of passing a defense bill that includes language lifting the gay ban, a spokesman said.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 16, 2010; 4:25 PM ET
Categories:  Congress, Military  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Kucinich mulls bid for top House Gov't Reform slot
Next: Eye Opener: Michelle Obama's chief of staff leaves, FDA studying caffeinated booze, security clearances and airport security

Comments

"See that bill?" Levin said as he removed a copy of the bill from a folder. "The bill has 849 pages and only two of them are 'don' t ask, don't tell.' The rest have to do with our troops, they have to do with a whole lot of critically important things."

There in a nutshell is the problem: Sen. Levin apparently does not understand that DADT harms troops every bit as much as inadequate funding and obsolete weapons. There is simply no excuse for Congress not to resolve this issue once and for all. It is both a matter of simple justice and fairness and an issue of military readiness.

Posted by: DCSteve1 | November 16, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

DON'T DO IT, DEMS!

Posted by: DrainYou | November 16, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

"See that bill?" Levin said as he removed a copy of the bill from a folder. "The bill has 849 pages and only two of them are 'don' t ask, don't tell.' The rest have to do with our troops, they have to do with a whole lot of critically important things."
---------------------------------------
Agreeed DCSteve.

Apparently, Levin doesn't understand that gay troops ARE troops.

And to be able to serve without out fear of a career-ending witchhunt affects our troops.

So pass the dang bill Congress, and support ALL OF OUR TROOPS.

Posted by: Greent | November 16, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Truly amazing. Truman was able to end segregation of black and white soldiers by executive order in July of 1948. Congressional leaders can't even agree to bring DADT to a vote as part of the appropriations bill. Unfortunately, with this Congress, and President Obama, the buck stops nowhere.

Posted by: lrbwiner | November 16, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

If the democrat senate repeals DADT they're only giving the conservatives some more red meat for 2012.

Posted by: IamWright | November 16, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Irb:

The difference is that DADT was put in place by Congressional law.

Truman was able to end desegregation by executive because it was only military policy, not law.

Yes, Obama could end DADT by executive order. But the next President could simply reinstate it.

Posted by: TheHillman | November 16, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

First thing this morning we read that STARK is delayed; then the tax cuts meeting, then the DADT repeal....looks like nothing will be done about anything in the next few weeks. Congress has too much to do, so it can't do anything, and then there are those holiday parties and vacations to think about....
The GLBT community is facing a major setback in its struggle for civil rights.

Posted by: AnnsThought | November 16, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Why do some people want to do away with Bill Clinton's greatest achievement and legacy??

It seems like a perfect compromise to let girly men serve with the real men of the greatest military on Earth.

Without all the homosexual baggage to weigh everyone down.

Posted by: battleground51 | November 16, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

"See that bill?" Levin said as he removed a copy of the bill from a folder. "The bill has 849 pages and only two of them are 'don' t ask, don't tell.' The rest have to do with our troops, they have to do with a whole lot of critically important things."
-------------------------------------------
Well, since it is a spending bill remove all the crap that isn't specifically about spending what the military needs. Pretty simple to understand, even for moronic politicians.

Posted by: illogicbuster | November 16, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

The Administration sold out its GLBT supporters when it chose to unnecessarily appeal the 9th District Court ruling which would have ended DADT immediately and permanently, without recourse by future Congresses or Presidents.

The DoJ was obligated by law to defend the statute when challenged by the lawsuit, but was under NO obligation to continue to wage appeals once the federal district court had ruled on the matter. Filing the appeal was a tacky, cynical, pre-election gamble to try to minimize losses in a right-leaning election year. It smacks of cowardice and the worst in political gamesmanship. It betrayed the 65,000+ gay and lesbian soldiers, sailors, airman, and marines who are currently serving in uniform despite the unjust DADT policy.

Unless the DoJ withdraws its appeal before Congress adjourns, you can be certain that millions of GLBT voters will abandon the President and the Hill Dems in 2012 as a result; indeed, exit polls show they already have begun to bail on the Dems this time around.

Posted by: PresstoDigitate | November 16, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

The far left is ruling against the consent of the people, but not for much longer. They have held this nation hostage to their San Francisco Marxist agenda and the backlash is going to be great.

Posted by: FormerDemocrat | November 16, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Thank God these spineless Democrats are going to be in the minority soon. I think the Dems are in line for a tea party-like wave of new blood, because these doddering old fools aren't cutting it for anyone.

Posted by: justin_timberwolf | November 16, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

When are the Dems gonna grow a pair? Knowing the Dems, not only will they allow separate votes, but then they won't get any protection against a filibuster of DADT. The GOP are scum, but at least they're not afraid, no matter how ridiculous their positions, and no matter how much they take a position in opposition to what the majority of voters want. The voters reward the GOP for having balls, and they punish the Dems for trying to appease and compromise with Neanderthals who have no interest in compromising or doing what's in the best interest of the country. Keep this up and the Dems will eventually lose all their seats in Congress. Keep Alan Grayson.

Posted by: Jodyjay | November 16, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Here's what will happen: Levin is going to cave to McCain, no doubt. DADT will be stripped from the appropriations bill; it will pass. Reid will make some half-hearted effort to bring the separate DADT repeal to the Senate floor for a vote...it will not pass. Dem leadership will seek to explain how they fought the good fight but in the New Reality nothing else could be done. Then Mr. Obama will have to decide whether to issue an Executive Order or not. He will not, asserting the with other major issues facing the country he could not go against the express will of Congress.

Folks, welcome to Age Of Political Cowardice. Oh, and after all this the DSCC will continue to fill my inbox with please for money to elect more Dems to the Senate. Shut up and give us money...THAT is the new Democrat mantra.

Posted by: top2dogs | November 16, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

The generals will never accept change to "don't ask, don't tell", without being FORCED to, it's part of their Christian Fundamentalist control grid, particularly in the systematically uneducated South. The generals know where their "Hate Capital" is based- The Warmachine uses hate as fuel for many purposes-but , ultimately, it's used for CONTROL...

Posted by: frak | November 16, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

If Obama does'nt get DADT passed this year he can kiss his re-election in 2012 good-bye... 'Bigtime.

Posted by: gloria26m | November 16, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

lrbwiner is correct except for one thing: If conservatives are too bigoted to act, and Democrats too cowardly, then the buck WILL stop with the courts -- and so will DADT, which will not withstand a constitutional challenge. Thank goodness for judicial review!!!!

Posted by: jonfromcali | November 16, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

I will not vote to re-elect President Obama in 2012 if Don't Ask, Don't Tell is still on the books.

Posted by: equalrights | November 16, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Equal Rights said: "I will not vote to re-elect President Obama in 2012 if Don't Ask, Don't Tell is still on the books."

Me either! I worked my arse off to get Obama elected and I have never felt so betrayed as I have in the last 2 years.

I'm praying that Obama gets a Primary opponent like Hillary Clinton or Howard Dean. I don't care if it then means he will lose the general election, that's his lesson to learn from betraying the democratic base.

Posted by: true_believer | November 16, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, when Congress passed the DADT legislation, the legislation includes specific language that prevents the DADT law from being repealed by presidential/executive order.

This is why President Obama hasn't done anything -- he cant. Only Congress can.

Posted by: RWLA | November 16, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse


No, Barry could not repeal this or any other law by using an executive order. And if Barry the inept tried he would be openly violating the Constitution. The Constitution give Congress not.the president the power to regulate the military.

What Levin is telling you Dims, is that repeal of DADT is not going to happen in the lame duck session of the Senate. He is surely not going to hold the entire defense bill hostage over this either. In September there was a bipartisan vote in the Senate AGAINST repealing DADT.

Posted by: screwjob22 | November 16, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse


No, Barry could not repeal this or any other law by using an executive order. And if Barry the inept bungler tried he would be openly violating the Constitution. The Constitution give Congress not the president the power to regulate the military. See Article I Section 8.

What Levin is telling you Dims, is that repeal of DADT is not going to happen in the lame duck session of the Senate. He is surely not going to hold the entire defense bill hostage over this either. In September there was a bipartisan vote in the Senate AGAINST repealing DADT.

Posted by: screwjob22 | November 16, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I am so tired of hearing about waiting and waiting and waiting. We've waiting too dammed long to be equal. I love the comments about Levin not realizing that gay troops are troops too. And of course McCain is an idiot anyway. I think he lost it years ago. And so much for the campaign promises and the campaign donations and campaigning that we did for the democrats and for Obama and all. What did we get, NOTHING. And don't tell me we got 150 gay people hired by the white house. That's nothing compared to the millions of dollars wasted by discharging gay Arabic linguists and gay pilots and gay soldiers and seamen and airmen, and yes gay marines. And it would be interesting to see what McCain and some of the other bigots would do if their own kids were born gay. Would they send them to a camp to be turned straight, which of course, every sane scientist says is impossible and dangerous. Maybe they would give them the rope to hang themselves or a bridge to jump off of. Let's face it. The government and the right wing treat gay adults like third class citizens so why shouldn't gay kids think there's nothing in their future. They treat gay military members like they don't exist and their loved ones don't exist so why would young gay people think they would have any honorable person to look up to and live their lives and have a future to look forward to. Let's go government, pass the repeal of DADT and get on with life.

Posted by: charlesvilagboy | November 16, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse


The Justice Department is obligated to defend the law regardless of whether Barry the incompetent boob Obama favors that law or not. Silly Dims do you think the Justice Department gets to pick and choose which laws they will uphold? Ridiculous. And as for the courts the Supreme Court already threw out a Constitutional challenge to DADT last year because it is Congress not the court that regulates the military. If the Supreme Court were going to overturn DADT they would have done it in 2009.

As for elections we just had one the Dims lost 61 seats. Starting on January the 3rd they can start all over again in the new House. Good luck with that, Dims.

Posted by: screwjob22 | November 16, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Religious fanaticism is about to triumph over secular law again. If there is a just and loving supreme being, all these homophobes and zenephobes will have explain there hate and ignorance. Good luck. May you receive the mercy you seem to be unable and unwilling to dispense. Since the basis for condemning homosexuality is religion, the first ammendment should prevail and DADT should be unconstitutional as a law based on a religious belief promoted by a specific religion. If you try to argue that it is constitutional to descriminate, we already a have law making sexual descrimintation illegal.

Posted by: AntiPhobias | November 16, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Black White Hub * C o m is a nice and free place for SINGLES- a nice and free place for singles- black & white, to interact with each other. Maybe you wanna check out or- tell your friends.

Posted by: abulaw | November 16, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

To those of you who are threatening not to vote for President Obama in 2012 if DADT is not repealed by the Congress: do you think this is going to increase the incentive of the GOP senators, who are currently filibustering the bill and are the real cause of the failure to pass the bill, to allow it to come to the floor? Also, do you think not voting for Obama in 2012 will improve the chances of passing DADT after that, with a GOP president and a GOP congress? Have you really thought your threat through? Venting your anger and frustration might feel good, but it does not lead to rational decision making.

Posted by: stevenbeller | November 16, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

FormerDemocrat seems to have an unflagging interest in anything gay-related. Methinks he doth protest too much.

Posted by: seaduck2001 | November 17, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

enough homo BS. pass the bill and get on with the real issue. removing our troops from crapholes of the world,and eliminating $$$$$$$ aid to them

Posted by: pofinpa | November 17, 2010 6:03 AM | Report abuse

I will not vote to re-elect President Obama in 2012 if Don't Ask, Don't Tell is still on the books.

Posted by: equalrights
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Promise?

Posted by: tjmlrc | November 17, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse

lrbwiner,

Republicans would love Obama to end DADT by executive order because it would fit their description of him as an overreaching President. They believe that message is sticking more than their being the Party of No is sticking. And they're right. That is why Obama and the Dems are trying to end DADT in a more organized manor. They will get it passed though.

Posted by: pathfinder12 | November 17, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I am a 72 year old life long democrat, and I will not support Obama or the democrats in 2012 if they don't show some leadership and some fortitude. Why should I support democrats when I can vote for republicans and get the same result.

Posted by: djaikins | November 17, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

The real issue in my mind is that the democrats in the past two years have demonstrated lack of leadership and total confusion on the health care bill. They allowed the republicans to shape the agenda, and they caved in on every aspect of the bill, Obama included. As a result the democrats appear to be rudderless and confused, and the blue dogs are central to that confusion.

Posted by: djaikins | November 17, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

The fact that Democrats like Levin, Reid and the soon-to-be-ex-speaker Pelosi (boy, that has a great ring to it) attached mullet wrap the likes of the Dream Act and the repeal of DADT to the Defense Appropriations Bill shows how far they are willing to push the far left agenda and how little the left cares for the military. The Defense Appropriations Bill is just that ... funding the military for operations. It should include everything related to the operations of DoD including the IRAQ/Afghanistan conflicts. The Dream Act and DADT should be put into the light of day for debate on their own merits (or lack there of).

Posted by: pielusztcontractor | November 17, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

You know
I have yet to figure out why everyone who is against the wars or is actually gay would want to serve your country. Why would any gay person want to serve with a bunch of bigoted hateful people.

I know you love your country, and I know you want to fight for the right to stay free, but heck

WHY HAS NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON REALIZED THAT IF YOU ALL BOYCOTTED ENTERING THE MILITARY THE WARS WOULD END, and if they went on it would mean the death of your bigoted gay-hating population. Allow the bigots to go to war and be killed. If the haters are dead, they cannot repopulate and still hate in their children.
I would call that a great step in the evolution of your country.

Posted by: racerdoc | November 17, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I wonder:

As the economy worsens;

as more jobs are lost;

as taxes rise;

as unemployment benefits end:

as health care becomes more expensive;

as senior unrest increases over no cost of living increases;

as energy costs rise;

as more homes are lost to foreclosure;

and the cost of higher education rises as more jobs are sent overseas;

I'll bet gays and lesbians in the military will be a nonissue for moat Americans struggling to survive.

Posted by: NewEra | November 17, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Let's not get too sanctimonious. The republicans for years have used the Defense Approbations Bill as their own private pork barrel especially for constituents in the southern states. The big difference now is that they no longer have the cover of the emotions they drummed up under patriotism when they took us into an unnecessary war in Iraq.

Posted by: djaikins | November 17, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

The reality is that gays and lesbians in the military is NOT now an issue for most Americans. Recent polls reflect that fact. However, that has not provided any backbone for our representatives.

Posted by: djaikins | November 17, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

has anyone asked the active military what their thoughts are about DADT?

Posted by: SISSD1 | November 17, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I heard a story a few days ago (and no, I cannot say 100% for sure that it is true), about an Army Captain, forward deployed in a combat zone in Afghanistan, who is in command of an outpost that is under constant threat of attack. This young man has the extra burden of having a relationship back home that is falling apart (as happens many times with our troops). In most circumstances the Army has a process that includes Chaplains, councilors and a host of people that are trained to help a soldier in this situation, but since this man is gay, he cannot talk to anyone about what he is going through. The pain of a break-up, the possible financial ruin, or even who is taking care of his dog, weigh on him every moment of every day.
The result of this tale is that we have an officer with combat responsibility who is facing an immense personal crisis alone, that could impact his decisions that mean life or death to his troops, and because of DADT, the Army has no way of knowing that something like this is happening, and he can’t let them know without fear of being discharged.
DADT is a half-way compromise that is not really about the culture wars in the US, nor is it about the fears of heterosexual soldiers and community showers or foxholes. When a piece of intelligence is not analyzed because there is a shortage of Arabic linguists, when a shoulder dies because there is no medic available to treat him, or when an overworked specialist in some field does not do his job correctly because his relief was discharged, the results could include death to themselves and others.
This policy needs to be addressed now. A compromise from nearly 20 years ago is no longer valid, and puts our soldiers and sailors at greater risk. From the viewpoint of a gay veteran I know how I would like to see it resolved, but even if it does not go the way I would like, the policy needs to be revisited and modified to make sure our troops are afforded the best opportunity to come home when their tours of duty end. DADT is not a policy that provides this type of security for our troops. It cannot be allowed to continue because of politics or a group of gutless wonders like the current democratic leadership. Surrendering today, to fight again in the future is only worthwhile when you get to keep your job, your big desk and your staff. It could mean a flight home in a body bag for the people this really impacts.

Posted by: The_Rat | November 17, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company