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www.gay-sd.com FROM PAGE 1 DADT


because it appeared, on the sur- face, to be a debate about a small business bill. But that bill, which has been approved by both houses but not sent to conference, was gutted and language from a DADT repeal bill was inserted. This new language was introduced by U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy as a stand- alone repeal bill Dec. 14—as a way of encouraging and speeding up the passage of a similar standalone bill in the Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi


(D-San Francisco) took to the floor early in the debate to urge passage of the measure and cite polling data released Dec. 15 showing 8 out of 10 Americans support repeal. “It is my hope to encourage


the Senate to take this long over- due action,” Pelosi said. Rep. Murphy (D-Penn.), urg-


ing support for repeal, said, “Enough of the games. Enough of the politics… . This vote is about


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whether we’re going to continue telling people willing to die for our freedoms that they need to lie in order to do so.” Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Di-


ego), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, con- trolled debate for Democrats and led with remarks stating, “the time to act is here.” “Change is never easy but it


rarely is as necessary as it is to- day,” she said. “If we miss this opportunity to repeal this law, his- tory will judge us poorly. “The overwhelming majority of


service members are ready for this change, the American people want repeal of this law, and our civilian and military leaders believe repeal will not threaten military readi- ness, recruiting or retention. Republican Rep. Buck McKe-


on (R-San Bernardino), who will be the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee be- ginning in January, expressed “strong opposition” to the repeal measure. He lamented the com- mittee was not being given an op- portunity to hold its own hearing on the Dec. 1 report submitted by


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the Pentagon. The Senate Armed Services Committee held such a hearing on Dec. 2 and 3. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.)


urged voting against the repeal measure to provide the military with more time to “deal with this in their own way.” Many of the Republicans who


spoke lamented the fact that Con- gress has yet to pass the annual Defense Authorization bill, sug- gesting that debating the DADT repeal was somehow interfer- ing with that bill. The irony, of course, was that Republicans in the Senate blocked consideration of the Defense Authorization bill, in large part because it included DADT repeal. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)


called Republicans on that, say- ing Republicans had repeatedly blocked consideration of the de- fense bill. He also argued that it’s not servicemembers who are un- easy with the change, but Republi- can members of Congress. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-


Wisc.) also spoke in favor of re- peal, saying the current policy is un-American.


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Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)


opposed repeal, saying “it’s an im- pediment to the military mission.” But Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) urged support for repeal, saying servicemembers in his district re- flected the results of the Pentagon study that found most anticipate no problems with repeal. And Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), an African Amer- ican, said, “I don’t need a survey to tell me what’s right when it comes to human rights.” “We cannot have a first-class


military with second-class sol- diers,” Green said. “I will not ask people who are willing to die for my country to lie for my country.” The Senate last week fell just


three votes short of moving to consideration of the issue through the Defense Authorization bill, which includes repeal language. West Virginia activists and the


Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) delivered 800 petitions to the offices of West Virginia’s new Democratic Sena- tor, Joe Manchin, Dec. 15, hoping to reverse his recent vote against consideration of DADT repeal. Manchin, the only Democrat to


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vote with Republicans to keep a filibuster going last week, said he voted no because he hadn’t had enough time to review the issue. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-


Ark.) said in early December she would have voted for cloture on the defense bill had she been in the chamber during the vote. And Senator Scott Brown (R- Mass.) has said he would vote for cloture after the Senate com- pletes passage of a bill to extend tax cuts. The Senate on Dec. 15 also


passed the tax cut extension bill, then moved immediately to con- sideration of a new arms control treaty (START). Some are pre- dicting the House will soon pass the tax cut bill, too, fulfilling a Re- publican Party demand that has prevented consideration of DADT repeal and other issues. Just minutes before the House


began debate on the DADT re- peal, the White House issued a statement, saying the Obama ad- ministration “strongly supports” its passage.♚


© 2010 Keen News Service POOL SERVICE


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