U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday that she remains uncertain about how lawmakers will address “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year, although she said inclusion of repeal as part of defense budget legislation would be an optimal vehicle for passage.
“As you probably are well aware, I have never supported ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and look forward to a time soon when it will no longer be the policy,” she said in response to a Blade inquiry. ”How we get from here to there –we’ll make those determinations as we go forward.”
Pelosi said there are a number of possible vehicles in which “people may want to speak out on this,” but said “the first one” that could be a possbility is the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill.
The defense budget legislation is pending before the House Armed Services Committee and could come to the House floor this month.
The speaker also sidestepped an inquiry on whether compromise legislation on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would be necessary this year — such as a delayed implementation measure that Congress would pass now but that wouldn’t take effect until next year.
“Do you know what?” she said. “We’re going to take this one step at a time.”
The exchange between the Blade and Pelosi follows:
Blade: Madam Speaker, a question on don’t ask, don’t tell. Do you think the House will take up the issue in an amendment to the defense authorization bill when it comes to the floor, and if so, will that vote be successful?
Speaker Pelosi. I’m sorry, I didn’t hear the beginning of your question.
Blade: Are you expecting the House to take up that issue as an amendment to the defense authorization bill?
Speaker Pelosi. It depends on how we bring the defense authorization bill to the floor. As you probably are well aware, I have never supported don’t ask, don’t tell, and look forward to a time soon when it will no longer be the policy. How we get from here to there, we’ll make those determinations as we go forward.
Blade: Do you think it’s possible to pass outright repeal this year, or is some sort of compromise legislation necessary such as a delayed implementation bill? And by that I mean a bill that Congress would pass now that wouldn’t take effect until next year?
Pelosi: Do you know what? We’re going to take this one step at a time. We have a number of vehicles where people may want to speak out on this, and the first one will be the defense authorization bill. The chairman will bring that bill to the floor, and we’ll make some evaluations about how we go forward on that.