The director of the Office of Management & Budget told reporters on Sunday that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal won’t be included in the president’s initial budget request because there’s no “funding implication” for overturning the law.
Asked by DC Agenda during a conference call whether repeal would be part of President Obama’s base budget as many activists had hoped, OMB Director Peter Orszag said he didn’t believe such language was included in the initial request made public Monday and said it wouldn’t be a issue that would be reflected in the budget.
“I don’t think there’s any direct funding — there’s no direct — that’s not something that would be reflected in the budget because there’s not a direct funding implication,” Orszag said.
Last week, the Williams Institute, a think-tank on sexual orientation at the University of California, Los Angeles, released a study that found that keeping “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on the books has been particularly costly for the U.S. government.
The study found “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has cost the U.S. military between $290 million and more than a half a billion dollars since its inception in 1993. Additionally, the study found the military spends an estimated $22,000 to $43,000 to replace each service member discharged under the law.
Although repeal of the law apparently won’t be part of the budget request made public on Monday, Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said Obama still has an opportunity to include repeal in a later version of his base bill.
Sarvis said the White House’s policy and legislative recommnendations are still weeks away from becoming public and said the president is not expected to submit his final defense budget package to Congress until late April or early May.
“Repeal language can still be added up until POTUS signs off and submits [the request to the] Hill,” Sarvis said. ” We will continue to press the White House to include it and make good on the President’s promise to end [‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.'”]