Meetings on the strategy to move forward legislatively this week with repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” took place Monday both in the White House and on Capitol Hill, according a Democratic leadership aide.
The aide said two meetings on Monday took place concurrently. One was held with congressional policy staff at the U.S. Capitol. Another was held at the White House and involved LGBT groups – including the Human Rights Campaign, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Servicemembers United and other groups.
The Human Rights Campaign and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network declined to comment on the White House meeting. Servicemembers United didn’t immediately respond to a request to comment.
The aide said discussions involved attaching repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as part of the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill and refrained from saying any deal was made during these talks.
“Both discussions were on possible language for inclusion in the Defense Authorization and those discussions were ‘promising,’” the aide said. “Reporting that there is a ‘deal’ is premature.”
In the House, the aide said supporters of repeal “still have to ensure we have the votes” to pass an end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as part of the defense authorization bill. He said discussions on this approach to repeal will continue this week and possibly at a House Democratic leadership meeting on Monday at 5:30.
Those seeking to overturn “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” are planning this week for Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) to introduce an amendment to the House floor as part of the defense authorization bill to overturn the law. House members have until 5 pm on Tuesday to introduce to the House Rules Committee any amendment they want as part of this larger defense legislation.
Murphy and repeal supporters have said they believe they have enough votes in the House to pass legislation repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Later this week, the Senate Armed Services Committee is also expected to take up the issue of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as an amendment during the markup of the defense authorization bill. Those seeking to end the ban on open service have said it’s unclear whether there are sufficient support for a successful vote or have said a successful vote is still a couple votes short.
The Blade will have more details on this story as it develops.