April 26, 2010 at 6:09 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Pelosi plans 'Don't Ask' repeal vote this year (updated)

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (DC Agenda file photo by Michael Key)

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is planning to hold a vote this year in her chamber of Congress for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, according to her office.

“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.

“The hour for the president as well as for the leadership to become engaged is now,” he said. “The reality is — particularly in the Senate Armed Services Committee — we are still short of some critical votes. We don’t have the votes today. We’re on the brink of getting them, and we need help from leadership on the Hill and from the president himself.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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