May 24, 2010 at 5:12 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Gibbs: White House will examine 'Don't Ask' repeal efforts

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that “it’s likely” for Congress to act legislatively this week on repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but stopped short of saying whether the White House would support that effort.

In a response to a Blade inquiry, Gibbs told reporters he’s seen media reports on a meeting the White House held on Monday with LGBT groups on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but added he didn’t know “what exactly is being discussed.”

“Obviously, it’s likely that Congress is going to act this week,” Gibbs added. “If they decide to do that, we’ll certainly examine what those efforts are.”

Supporters of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” are expecting the House to take up the issue this week when the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill comes to the floor. A vote on the issue is also expected in the Senate Armed Services Committee this week when the panel holds it markup for the defense legislation.

The White House hasn’t yet endorsed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal before the Pentagon completes its study on the issue at the end of the year. Asked whether the White House would be open to passing a compromise repeal measure on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this week, Gibbs replied he had to find out what was being discussed on the issue.

The Advocate lated asked whether the White House was responsible for initiating the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” meeting. Gibbs said he believed the White House made the decision to hold the discussions, but said he’d have to check.

Blade: There are a number of media reports saying the White House held a meeting today with supporters of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Did those involve decide on an approach for repeal the White House could endorse as Congress potentially takes up that issue this week?

Gibbs: I’ve seen some of the reports — I’ve not seen what exactly is being discussed. Obviously, it’s likely that Congress is going to act this week. If they decide to do that, we’ll certainly examine what those efforts are.

Blade: If I could just follow up with that really quickly, is it possible that some kind of compromise could be reached that the White House could endorse, and, if so, what would the details of this compromise entail?

Gibbs: Let me go find out what they’re discussing, and that might be pertinent to that answer.

Advocate: Do you know who initiated the meetings?

Gibbs: I think we did, but I’ll check.

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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