“It is the Speaker’s intention that a vote will be taken this year on ['Don't Ask, Don't Tell'] in the House,” Drew Hammill, a Pelosi spokesperson, told DC Agenda in a statement Monday.
The announcement is promising news for repeal advocates because Pelosi has yet to put legislation to the floor that hasn’t had sufficient support for passage. Michael Cole, a Human Rights Campaign spokesperson, praised Pelosi for planning the vote.
“As we’ve been saying for a long time now, the time to repeal the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law is this year, and it’s a positive sign to hear congressional leaders affirm that,” Cole said.
Still, Cole said further work is necessary to make repeal happen. “We need pressure on the Congress, we need pressure on the White House, we need pressure across the board, and as we get into this critical period, signs like that are promising,” he said.
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said he learned the House was planning this vote last week in a meeting with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
“I’m delighted that she’s reaffirmed to hold the vote this year,” he said. Sarvis said the planned vote is helpful because it “underscores to the White House the seriousness of purpose” and the importance of moving key votes in both the House and Senate the upcoming weeks.I don't mean to be the fly in the ointment here but, although this sounds like great news, you don't have to dig very deep to find that the president and congress have been backing away from controversial legislation this year in the wake of last year's drastic health care overhaul. The Hill reported back in December, “The Speaker has told members in meetings that we’ve done our jobs,” a Democratic leadership aide said. “And that next year the Senate’s going to have to prove what it can accomplish before we go sticking our necks out any further.”
The other problem is that there are six key democratic senators that still need convincing on DADT repeal and the Republicans are dead set against it, with ex-maverick John McCain having told Admiral Mike Mullen that he thinks the current system is "working just fine".
Queerty had this to say about yesterday's news:
"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is promising a full floor vote on repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell by the end of 2010. Well, her office is calling it an "intention." We're calling it either a) a reaction to GetEQUAL storming her office; b) lip service; or c) both."
We've been down this road before folks. The mid-term elections are coming up and the Dems need our votes in what promises to be a very critical election year. A lot of people are pissed off at Obama and it's not just the Teabaggers. This year's vote could reshuffle the political deck in a way that puts the LGBT equality movement once again on the back burner for another decade. This is no time to relax. We can't afford to ease up on the pressure. Call your senators and congressional reps and urge them to back repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The number for the congressional switchboard is 1(202) 224-3121.