Today senators Carl Levin, of Michigan, Joe Lieberman, of Connecticut and Rep. Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania wrote a letter to the president proposing what has been called "Delayed Implementation". The legislation would repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell this year, but not go into effect until after the Pentagon's working group completes its study of the effects of repeal. The letter reads, in part:
"Given the important efforts of the working group, we have developed a legislative proposal for consideration by the House and Senate that puts a process in place to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' once the working group has completed its review and you, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs certify that repeal can be achieved consistent with the military's standards of readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention."The trio asked for feedback, saying, "We appreciate the input you and the Pentagon have provided throughout this process and request the Administration's official views on our legislative proposal."
The Administration wasted no time replying to the proposal. Peter Orszag, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote the response saying, "The Administration is of the view that the proposed amendment meets the concerns raised by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff." Orszag continued, saying that ideally the Pentagon's review should be completed before legislatiuve action takes place, but "the Administration understands that Congress has chosen to move forward with legislation now..."
In other words, Gates ans Mullen, who stated unequivocally back in February that they are in favor of repeal, but quickly put a stop to any talk of a moratorium on discharges, have the final say on all of this. Even of we get repeal language into the Defense Authorization Bill and get it approved by both the house and the senate and the president wants to sign it, Mullen and Gates could get cold feet and kill the whole deal. Anybody got a Rolaid?
Keep your fingers crossed and keep up the pressure on congress.
7:30 am, 5-25-10, UPDATE: According to some reports, a vote could come as early as Thursday. Call your representatives today at (202) 224-3121 and tell them to support this measure. It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing.