Lieberman: Let’s Stay In D.C. Until DADT Is Repealed

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) says the Senate should vote on repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell before it goes home for Christmas — even if that means keeping Senators in town through the holiday.

“Wanting to go home is not an acceptable excuse for failing to pass a bill that provides essential support for our troops and veterans and failing to take action that the president, the secretary of Defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have called for,” a Lieberman spokesperson told The Hill.Lieberman, who is a staunch supporter of repealing the military’s ban on openly gay servicemembers, has said for days that the votes are there to get the job done during the lame duck session, which would satisfy President Obama’s promise to repeal DADT by the end of the year.

But some Republican support for repeal comes with strings attached in the form of weeks of additional debate on the defense spending bill that has repealing the ban included in it. Lieberman says the Senate needs to provide that time for debate, even if it means another Christmas Eve on Capitol Hill — just one year after the Senate passed the health care reform law on Dec. 24.

Lieberman’s office says that if the Senate is willing to stay open long enough this month, the ban will be repealed before January. Passing a repeal now will likely save months in additional debate with an unpredictable outcome once the new Republican-heavy Congress is sworn in in January.

“Sen. Lieberman believes that there are at least 60 votes to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ this year, provided that leadership allows time for sufficient debate and amendments,” the Liberman spokesperson told The Hill.