November 8, 2010 at 8:14 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Frank: ‘Zero chance’ for LGBT bills next year

Gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who won re-election last week in one of his toughest challenges, said LGBT legislation would have no chance of passing in Congress under the Republican-controlled House next year.

In an interview Tuesday with the Washington Blade, Frank also said he was confident that the Senate, of which Democrats retained control, would join President Obama in blocking any anti-gay bills that conservative Republicans might introduce over the next two years.

“Next year there’s no chance of anything happening,” he said of pro-LGBT legislation. “There’s zero chance.”

He added, “It will be a status quo. They don’t have the votes to hurt us but we don’t have the votes to advance anything in the cause.”

Frank also said he was certain that Republicans would fail in an attempt to overturn D.C.’s same-sex marriage law.

“Do you think Barack Obama is going to sign a bill to repeal the D.C. marriage law,” he asked. “It won’t go through the Senate. There is no chance that could happen. None—zero.”

Frank noted that only five out of 179 House Republicans voted earlier this year to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

“The Republicans have become much more anti-gay in their voting patterns,” he said. “There is zero chance of anything good happening with Republicans in control of the House.”

Frank said he was hopeful that the Senate would vote to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the congressional lame duck session over the next two weeks. The House passed a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal measure earlier this year as part of a defense authorization bill.

The Senate killed a similar defense authorization bill containing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal language in a filibuster organized by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Every Senate Republican voted against a cloture motion to break the filibuster.

Frank noted that a number of GOP senators cited the Senate bill’s inclusion of a controversial immigration provision known as the DREAM Act as their reason for voting against the bill, saying they otherwise would have supported repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

He said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told him he won’t insert the DREAM Act immigration language in the defense authorization bill when he brings it to the Senate floor in the lame duck session.

With the immigration language removed as an “excuse,” Frank said he’s hopeful that Republican senators who support repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will now join Democrats in supporting the overall defense bill to which repeal language will be attached. Among the GOP senators that repeal advocates hope will back the bill this time are Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snow, both from Maine.

In one of his first comments on a campaign ad by the conservative gay Republican group GOProud opposing him in his re-election race, Frank said the ad had little or no impact on the election.

He noted that his GOP opponent, Sean Bielat, opposes repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and is against “every other gay issue.”

“So I have no idea who these people are,” he said of the GOProud group. “And they have no influence whatsoever. The LGBT community in my district continues to be virtually unanimously supportive.”

The following is a transcript of the Blade’s interview with Rep. Frank, conducted on Nov. 8.

Rep. Barney Frank: I’ve been working today on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In fact, I think it’s time for people to hold the Republicans’ feet to the fire because we didn’t get any votes from them. Last time around, they had the excuse – some of them – that they didn’t want to vote because [Senate Majority Leader] Harry [Reid] was going to put the DREAM Act in there on immigration. He now says he’s not going to put the DREAM Act in there. He’s going to put that in some other place. So now the question is why do Republicans — Sen. Snow, Sen. Collins and Sen. Brown — what reason would they have for voting against the whole bill?

And I spoke today to Pete Rouse [the acting White House Chief of Staff] and to Sen. Reid and Sen. [Richard] Durbin [D-Ill.] and Sen. [Carl] Levin [D-Mich.], and they all agree. They want to pass the defense bill with ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in it. They have two weeks. The question is whether Republicans filibuster it to death. But the Democrats are going to try very hard to do it. I think by the way, that’s why [Secretary of Defense Robert] Gates spoke out. I am sure, nobody’s told me this, but I’m sure the president said to Harry Reid, look, we’ve got to get this done. And Reid said fine, would it be helpful if I got some military support? And eventually Gates spoke out as he did.

Washington Blade: Your press person sent us a copy of your statement on that today.

Frank: I’ve spent — I made a lot of phone calls today. Plus, one fear was I saw, oh well, they’ll take ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ back out of the defense bill. It won’t pass in the House if they do that. I believe the speaker wouldn’t allow it to come up.

Blade: Do you mean next year?

Frank: No, [Rep. John] Boehner [R-Ohio, who will become Speaker of the House in January] is not who I was talking about. The thought was that the Republicans would say if they took ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ out of the [defense] bill this year in the lame duck session they would get it passed. And my answer is that’s not going to get them anywhere because we wouldn’t pass it in the House. We will not accept — there’s been some speculation about that — and the answer is no, the House—we’re going to tell the Senate that’s not going to work. And I don’t think the Senate is planning to do that. Harry is not planning to do that.

… ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal is in the defense authorization bill. What I just said was there was some suggestion that [Sen. John] McCain [R-Ariz.] would say strip that out and I’ll let you pass the defense bill. And the answer is that won’t work because the House won’t pass it. In other words, the Democratic leadership is thoroughly committed to getting ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repealed. The only question is — you know, Log Cabin says, oh, the Democrats couldn’t do it. Well they got us five Republican votes in the House … And no Republican votes in the Senate. The Democrats can’t do that all by ourselves without a single Republican supporter.

Blade: Did Harry Reid give an indication of when he might bring it up?

Frank: Right away — they only have two weeks. He’s committed to getting it done. He and I talked to the three — the Democratic leader, the Democratic whip, the Democratic committee chairman … They all agree they want to get it done. Unfortunately, if we have no Republican votes it can’t be done. So the question is will any Republicans and their supporters get us anything?

Blade: What’s the prospect of advancing LGBT-related bills next year, when the Republicans take charge of the House?

Frank: Next year there’s no chance of anything happening. There’s zero chance. We got five Republican votes out of 179 to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ The Republicans have become much more anti-gay in their voting patterns. There is zero chance of anything good happening with Republicans in control of the House.

Blade: Have you heard of anything about a Log Cabin supported gay-related tax reform bill? They won’t give us any details but the head of Log Cabin says that’s the first thing they’re going to work on next year and he thinks they might get Republican support.

Frank: If they’re suggesting that there will be Republican support for recognition of same-sex marriage that’s a lie and they know it. There’s no chance of that.

Blade: I asked them about that and he wouldn’t give me details but —

Frank: Yes, the Log Cabin club would like to make it easier for taxing – they would like to reduce taxes for rich people. I understand that. But there will be no help for gay people. Now for some of them, I think their income is skewed pretty high anyway. So they’ll feel good about it. But, no, there is zero chance that the Republicans will do anything that would recognize same-sex couples.

Blade: What about ENDA? He did say they would try to move ENDA.

Frank: There is zero chance of them doing anything on ENDA — zero.

Blade: Then the next step is whether the Republican majority or some Republicans will try to harm gay people such as attempting to repeal D.C.’s same-sex marriage law.

Frank: They can’t. That would take the president and the Senate … Do you think Barack Obama is going to sign a bill to repeal the D.C. marriage law? It won’t go through the Senate. There is no chance that could happen. None, zero.

Blade: So essentially it’s going to be a standstill?

Frank: It will be a status quo. The one thing we have a chance for is ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal in this lame duck session. And we can get that if we get any Republican cooperation. … On the other hand, they don’t have the votes to hurt us but we don’t have the votes to advance anything in the cause.

Blade: What’s your prediction on Nancy Pelosi’s decision to run for the Democratic leadership post as House Minority Leader?

Frank: Oh, she’ll win.

Blade: Your press spokesperson said you are supporting her.

Frank: I’m supporting her. I think she’ll win. … And from the LGBT standpoint, nobody’s going to get elected to any Democratic [leadership] office who isn’t 100 percent supportive.

Blade: In terms of your re-election campaign, did the ad attacking you from the conservative gay Republican group GOProud have any impact?

Frank: I don’t think anybody knew about it. Can you answer a question?

Blade: Yes.

Frank: What is it they are proud of? Does anybody know?

Blade: I guess they say they’re proud of being Republicans.

Frank: You guess? My [opponent, Republican Sean Bielat] was against repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ He did not take a single pro-gay position.

Blade: Their ad said they supported him because you were ‘catty.’

Frank: It means that these are people who have no interest in advancing gay causes, and I have no idea what it means. He’s a guy who’s against ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal, against every other gay issue and ran an ad in the YouTube, which I never saw, which two newspaper editorials condemned as anti-gay — two separate newspapers have condemned it as anti-gay. So I have no idea who these people are. And they have no influence whatsoever. The LGBT community in my district continues to be virtually unanimously supportive.

Blade: How do you feel about your role on the House Financial Services Committee under Republican leadership? [Frank will lose his position as chair of the highly influential committee in the GOP-controlled House in January.]

Frank: I believe we will be able to defend the financial regulation reform. Of all the issues, that was the one where we are on the most popular side. If they try to undo the consumer protection or other stuff, we’ll be able to block them.

Blade: And are you going to serve as the ranking minority member on the committee?

Frank: Yes.

Blade: Will the Democrats be reshuffling committee chairs in the new Congress?

Frank: Well everybody that’s returning will stay. Obviously there are some vacancies.

Blade: Concerning the health care reform law, do you think that will stay intact?

Frank: They can’t change it legislatively. They may try to un-fund it. That will be what they will try to do. Thank you.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • What bills did the Democrats advance for us when they controlled Congress for the past two years with overwhelming majorities? The status quo was alive and well for the past two years on Frank’s watch. He’s talking as if something has changed. They did nothing!!!

  • Actually they passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act as part of the Defense Authorization Act in 2009. While I wish they acted on the Employment Non Discrimination Act, don ‘t say they didn’t do anything, thats an extreme exaggeration

  • They passed the hate crimes bill which was the generally recognized first in a list of priorities for the LGBT community and has pushed for the repeal of DADT, both vociferously opposed by Republicans. Obama also ended the HIV travel ban and extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. But I suppose those things don’t matter and we should just let the people who will do NOTHING for us run the show for a few years. Hey, it’s only 8 or 10 years of Republican control of Congress thanks to Republican-led redistricting in state houses! No big deal!

    • The hate crimes bill, though watered down, was important. However, ENDA is the highest legislative priority of the queer community. ENDA is more important, in terms of its effect on the lives of queers, than all the other bills combined.

    • The hate crimes bill might be your first priority, it might even be the first priority of “Gay, Inc.”, but as a trans woman of color, *my* first legislative priority is a trans-inclusive ENDA. I’m not really that concerned about what happens after I’m dead, because I’m too busy trying to scrape together enough money to pay my rent, keep the lights on, and stay warm and fed. I need a job, and some protection from being fired from it, not gay marriage, not DADT, not increased hate crimes punishments.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for gay marriage, etc., but they are far from priorities. Ever hear of Abraham Maslow and the Hierarchy of Needs? It’s pretty ironic that trans people tend to reach the top of the hierarchy (self-actualization), only to have society fling us right back to the bottom in search of basic survival.

  • Gates – Boehner – Obama – Scalia – McCain – Chaffetz: Like “W” just said about Iraq: he didn’t WANT to go to war, but he HAD TO! Riiiiight… You all say “I don’t WANT to treat you differently. But I HAVE TO.” Riiiiight… just like Bush: complete bullpucky. MY dictionary ties “bigotry” with religion, intimately together in one tight little knot. Look it up!

    So whether it’s marriage, DADT or jobs/ENDA… the sooner you all quit making plans about how/where/when to treat us differently – and urging others to do so – the better off everyone will be. Kumbaya :D

  • Good interview. I and many others, including Barney Frank I am sure, would like to be proven wrong on whether or not the Republicans will move any LGBT issues forward in the Congress. I am willing to applaud and give them credit when and if they do. I continue to hope that the Log Cabin Republicans will have a postitive influence. Maybe they can start by getting Snowe and Collins to vote yes on repealing DADT. That would be a huge coup for LCR.

    • The Log Cabin Republicans are traitors to the LGBT community. They are catspaws for the Republican Party, whose interest is overwhelmingly antigay. The bringing to the floor first of DADT Repeal was a brilliant, though devilish, piece of Republican political calculation. Republicans knew that this particular piece of gay-friendly legislation would have the hardest time passing– as it happened, it never even achieved cloture– of any of the gay civil rights bills that could have been introduced, because unlike the American people, whom gay orgs tout as being supportive of gay soldiers, the military itself– regardless of the sincere effort of Adm. Mike Mullen– remains highly resistant to openly gay soldiers, and Senators listen to generals and admirals before they listen to participants in Gay Pride parades.

      Comprehensive European-style civil-unions legislation, that would include anti-employment discrimination, anti-housing discrimination planks, the right to bequeath and ingerit to and from same-sex partners, the federal right to put one’s same sex partner under one’s health insurance plan, and more, would have passed the Senate. Now, as I said when this disastrous DADT-of any of the players in this depressing tableau.Repeal defeat occurred, and Barney Frank has just confirmed, nothing at all will pass. He must at least say the lame-duck Senate will repeal DADT, but he says it with little sound of enthusiasm.

      And if gays get completely in a mood to cut their …. off to spite their face and vote for a Republican against Obama in 2012, then there will be no GLBT-friendly legislation for the rest of the decade.

      I hold the Log Cabin Republicans most repsonsible for the results of this distressing tableau. They were the ones who brought those 6 Republican servicepeople with good service records up to the White House in that demonstration, which induced the Democratic leadership, lacking such a high-profile demo by people who just wanted to live together with the social benefits of straight people, to allow this DADT Repeal to come to the floor. Republicans, as I said, knew that LGBT people would get one bite at the legislative pie during the first two years of the Obama Administration, and that this was the easiest one for them to lose. Brilliant, I say, and utterly free of legal risk, unlike most Republican dirty tricks we have watched in my 40 years back from Vietnam. Mr. Rove could not possibly have done better.

      The LCRs are REPUBLICANS FIRST, and then– maybe– gay somewhere down the line. On their website there is a link supposedly to a list of candidates they were going to endorse on September 15. Guess what? No list. And one can see why, if the list was anything like Congressman-elect Murray, a retired colonel and anti-gay rights all the way. Former Capt. Clark Cooper may have gotten out without a blemish on his service record, but he and his friends have forever vacated any claim they have to being GAY. Now all they can say– if they even are– is that they are homosexuals.

      I am mildly surprised that more prominent LGBTs have not called the LCRs on their treason. But on the other hand, perhaps gays just are unable to believe that any members of their community would act so directly in their own self-interest. They traded civil-unions legislation which would have ensured civil rights for 15 million people, assuming a GLBT population of 5% in America, for legislation which MIGHT have assured ONE RIGHT for less than 100,000 (assuming 5 times as many GLBTs have served or are serving in the military in the 17 years since DADT was enacted, and adding the 13,000 gay discharges . then, plus maybe that many naive twinks who might have enlisted but for the deterrent effect of an anti-gay military as have been discharged. Let’s say another 13,000). 91,000 goes into 15 million 165 times. This DADT-Repeal defeat hurt everybody– it was a terminal blow for gay rights at least during this administration, But it wasn’t even DESIGNED to help everybody. It was, in fact, a masterful, cynical piece of political machination that was sinceCALCULATED TO FAIL.

      And one other thing, you just watch: my political discussion forum’s resident Log Cabin Republican (I blush to admit that has one as a regular liar, er, poster) is going to show up here and attempt to debunk me with emotion and right-wing talking points. A hateful little man from Washington. A little not-far-past-twink-age Republican agent provocateur. Like all the LCRs, conflicted to the nitty max!

      I call on gays to police their own civil rights movement, and remove– forcibly, if necessary– the hands of the Log Cabin Republicans from the levers of power in our nation’s capital! I regret al the kids getting bullied these days, but it is grown people– the LCRs and their Republican handlers– who are busy trying to recreate a homophobic environment in which more kids will take their lives because bullies will be empowered. If anyone needs to get bullied, it is the Log Cabin Republicans, and by gays and lesbians themselves.

  • Great interview of a true soldier in LGBT politics. While quite gruff around the edges, he is an important figure in Congress. Obama totally blew the supermajorities of the last two years. What he did was tinkering around the edges, and I don’t give him any credit for hate crimes legislation – that had been ten years in the making. The next two years will be about the GOP figuring out who big business wants as the next president and then those businesses will LEGALLY bankroll that campaign. We could have had our agenda passed by now. But what we got was an unskilled president who is decidedly unsupportive.

  • “Obama also extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees”

    This claim is pure unadulterated Bullshit! To say he extended benefits to same sex partners of federal employees is a JOKE. Table scraps, pure BS. Nothing the least bit meaningful. Obama and his democratic cronies are as bad if not worse than the republicans. We know damn well not to expect equal treatment from repubs, while the dems promise us change in exchange for our money support and votes, only to throw us under the bus once they get in. Bullshit!

  • The only significant piece of legislation the Democrats took the time to pass was the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act. Clearly, they could have passed a lot more than that if they had wanted to however, and that is what is so frustrating. Now the clock is ticking for this Congress and as Frank so correctly pointed out, nothing will be done in the next Congress. Democrats must act now to pass the two bills that can actually be passed during the lame-duck session; namely the Democrats in the senate must Repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Democrats in the House & Senate must give the Domestic Partnership Benefits & Obligations Act, (which has cleared committees in both chambers) a vote on the floor of both chambers and make it law. As it stands, the Dems are already making excuses about not being able to bring DADT back up for a vote, and although DPBO passed out of committee in both chambers ten months ago and has been waiting to be called for a floor vote, it will probably be allowed to die without even getting a vote in the House or Senate. This is the kind of thing that convinces me that Obama and the Democratic leadership don’t care about advancing our issues. As for the GOP, no surprises there, we know they are always against us.

  • Pete Giaquinto wrote, “Obama and his democratic cronies are as bad if not worse than the republicans.” This is demonstrably false. The last time I checked, dozens of Dems had perfect 100 scorecards from the Human Rights Campaign, but no Republicans did (I believe there was one previously, but he got defeated). Look, the Dems have been lame, and it is infuriating, but that’s just it–the true and accurate complaint is bad enough. We don’t have to exaggerate. The Hate Crimes Act is not enough, but it is not nothing. BTW, Bill, all of our top legislative items have been pending for years–so does that mean that you wouldn’t give Obama and the Dems credit if they all passed tomorrow? Let’s give credit and criticism where due. For all their faults, the Dems have a far better record on gay issues than Republicans. And before you react, please note that I did not just beatify them. I said they were lame. But saying they’re no better than the Republicans is false and self-defeating. If Jason Chaffetz pushes a bill to overturn D.C.’s marriage equality law, and gets his caucus to back him, will you still say that there’s no difference between the parties? BTW, Peter Rosenstein, if enough Republicans support DADT repeal to make that happen, it won’t just be to LCR’s credit–lots of people have been working on that.

  • I am SO tired of all of Barney’s attempts to cover for the lack of significant action by the Democrats on LGBT equality legislation by pointing his finger at the other side. That really doesn’t cut it any more, sir.

  • Excuse my extreme exaggeration! They passed a hate crimes law. What was not passed was DADT repeal, ENDA, and the repeal of DOMA. Basically, all of the gay community’s major priorities. I guess that is a major accomplishment for all the Obama and Democratic party apologists who read and comment on this blog though. Gays are still kicked out of the military (thanks to Obama that appealed the ruling that would have ended DADT!), still getting fired from their jobs, and legally married gay couples are having their spouses deported because they have no immigration rights. If you are LGBT and not DISGUSTED with our president and his party then you apparently are not paying attention. I am sick and tired of the excuses. One more day of our community being treated second class is an outrage and should have been addressed immediately by the party that had not problem taking our money and votes. Yes, the Repubs are worse but they never promised me anything and I didn’t give them my time, money, and vote for the past decade.

  • The only true failure, is not trying.

  • Barney Frank is a joke. As others have noted, the Democrats with an overwhelming majority in the House, a filibuster proof majority in the Senate and the Presidency have done NOTHING. As a gay man, I do not want a hate crimes law – just enforce the laws on the books, and, if you think it is so important, please tell me how many times this law has been used (answer: never). And the overtunring of the HIV travel ban happened under Bush. Remember also that the President is against gay marriage (while Dick Cheney is in favor). DADT could have been repealed anytime during the last 2 years but Obama chose not spend ANY capital on it. Face it – Obama played a lot of gays for suckers and stll does. And, by the way, since when shouuld the HRC determine gay priorities? They do not speak for me.

  • The Democrats still have the votes in the lame-duck Congress to pass ENDA, and they should do it. The idea of having a Federal statute that provides workplace protections for LGBT workers is supported by over 75 percent of the American people. This bill has been introduced in every Congress since the early 1970s. The election is now in the rearview mirror, and it is an easy vote for all Democrats. If Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi can’t accomplish this, they should be ousted from their Democratic leadership positions in the House.

  • Yes, Barney, we know that NO pro-gay legislation can pass with a GOP majority in Congress (or President in the White House). How can it when the party has a specific platform that opposes anything that benefits the welfare of gay Americans! The party is a pocket of christian conservatives. And GoProud (What is there to be proud of) is a disgrace….nothing more than a lap dog to the GOP leadership wagging its tail whenever they get an iota of recognition from the GOP leadershiip in exhange for being tokens they can point to when necessary to claim they are compassionate conservatives! GoProud are losers selling out the gay community for a tax cut while enjoying the benefits earned by the hard fought struggles of REAL gay activists!

    As for the Dems and Pelosi, it was a miracle they managed to pass the Hate Crimes Act. But soon after, they failed us by giving us constant excuses and lip service as to why our ENDA legislation could not be voted upon. Pelosi squandered all last year on Healthcare and refused to allow ENDA a vote and the gay leadership just sat their like idiots and accepted this! It was clear by the start of this year that the Dems would lose their majority in Congress, yet no action was taken on ENDA. to try and pass it while it was still possible…excuses included that the votes weren’t there or ENDA could get hostile amendments attached. Like we won’t face that all the time. Pelosi held ENDA hostage not allowing a vote on it….NO DIFFERENT THAN A GOP MAJORITY THAT WON’T ALLOW IT OUT OF COMMITTEE FOR A FAIR UP AND DONE VOTE!

    But it just wasn’t the Dems alone that failed us. The gay leadership also screwed things up big time! Instead of focusing on one major piece of legislation at a time like ENDA as they did in the case of Hate Crimes, they introduced too much pro gay legislation at once which ended up competing with each other resulting in Pelosi saying that both ENDA and Ending DADT could not be voted upon at the same time….one bill at a time. As a result, we ended up with the misguided priority being ending DADT when the obvious priority had to be ENDA! Only a fraction of us work for the US military stupid! Most of our community would have benefited from ENDA as it would have protected us in ALL 50 states! The gay leaderships botched it…AGAIN!

    I’m beginning to think that gay organizations like HRC have no vested interest in passing all our legislation…..why would they? If they did, they would be obsolete and lose funding from people supporting them. As such, the longer they can drag things out, the better to keep working until retirement. Face it the only major legislation we have managed to pass on the federal level since Stone Wall has been Hate Crimes.

    Look what the are doing now with the lame duck session, squandering it again by focusing on yet another vote on Ending DADT! What happened to giving ENDA a chance for a vote at all? That was the plan, get a vote on DADT then ENDA gets a chance. But somehow you think the result is going to be different a month later by voting on it again. The same GOP members that voted against the bill before will do it again STUPID. Nothing will change. Waiting on this Pentagon Report ending the policy is a smoke-screen allowing the GOP cover and excuses when they know that in the end they will ignore the report when it concludes the policy can be ended and do nothing.

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