Rep. Buck McKeon, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee and a candidate for the chairmanship come January, doesn’t think Congress should pass repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell during the lame duck session.
“I think that’s unwise,” McKeon said Wednesday in an interview with Reuters, noting that the Pentagon’s review of how best to repeal the policy will not be released until early December.“Now, I really would like to see that [study] before any effort is made to push this thing through. I think that something as disruptive as that could potentially be in the military, and figuring all of these people that have lost their elections that would be making that kind of a decision, I just think that’s not a wise (move),” he said. “Because I think the only reason they’re trying to do it is political. And I don’t think the military should be used as a political football.”
The House has already passed DADT repeal as part of the Defense Authorization bill, which stalled in the Senate in September. So McKeon doesn’t have a say in whether repeal will pass in the lame duck.
He did, however, say in a statement this week that the authorization bill should be stripped of “the current majority’s social agenda items,” which presumably include both DADT repeal and the DREAM Act.
President Obama has said he’s committed to repealing DADT during the lame duck session, and said it will be especially plausible to do so after the Pentagon review comes down Dec. 1.
That leaves little time before the Christmas recess and the new Congress, however. Obama today outlined some of the priorities during the lame duck session, including extending the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, extending unemployment insurance, passing small business hiring incentives and ratifying the START treaty. He did not mention the Defense Authorization bill — which funds the military — or DADT repeal.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday that passing repeal “might be something we could work out” in lame-duck.
(H/T Wonk Room)