In a last minute effort, members of the U.S. House of Representative plan to vote on a stand-alone bill to repeal the legislative ban on open homosexuality in the military.
House Representatives are expected to vote this week on repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” after a similar attempt was stalled by Senate Republicans last week.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed the plan in a Tuesday tweet commenting, “Senate action on #DADT is long overdue.” Pelosi has also stated publicly, “As we come to the end of the session, all options to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell' are now on the table."
In a previous attempt to approve a repeal last Friday, Senate Democrats were not able to rally together the 60 votes it needed to prevent against a filibuster and approve the Defense Appropriations bill, containing the provision ending the 1993 ban, for debate and an eventual vote on the Senate floor.
Unlike the Senate bill, the House one is a free-standing bill and will include other issues such as an amendment to allow abortion on military bases.
Pro-family groups lament that the stand-alone bill is part of a sly attack to bypass the committee process and bring the issue to the floor.
Family Research Council experts warn that House Democrats are rushing the DADT repeal through to a floor vote as a “privileged resolution.” From there, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid is likely to issue a motion to bypass committee hearings and force senators to vote on the legislation.
FRC Action Vice President Thomas McClusky explained that Reid reportedly plans to amend a small business bill currently on the Senate desk to act as a shell for the House bill, if approved. Doing so will allow the bill to escape filibuster efforts. “It’s a special power that he has,” he informed The Christian Post.
McClusky said if an approved House DADT repeal reaches the floor through this special process, it is very likely that the appeal will be approved and signed by President Barack Obama.
Decrying this possibility, he noted, “[For] Sen. Reid and the president, [it] seems like this is their top priority over everything else.”
Other issues being considered in the lame duck session include tax cuts, unemployment benefits for workers and immigration reform for immigrant youths.
The FRC has pointed to recent comments from Marines Commandant Gen. James Amos as to why DADT should be kept in place.
Amos told reporters yesterday that combat Marines are concerned that a DADT repeal may be a distraction.
Any distraction, he shared, can pose a problem in a combat zone. "When your life hangs on the line, on the intuitive behavior of the young man that sits to your right and to your left, you don't want anything distracting,” he declared.
Amos’ comments were fueled by a military readiness report released by the U.S. Department of Defense on Nov. 30.
Despite a hearing with military branch leaders on Dec. 3, McClusky said lawmakers have not sufficiently debated the content of the study.
“They didn’t interview the people who created the study,” he noted.
The House has not yet announced when the vote will take place. FRC Action is currently targeting senators on both sides of the aisle, encouraging them to vote against a repeal of any kind.