Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Wednesday night that he will schedule a vote next month on repealing the military’s ban on openly gay service members.
“During the work period following the Thanksgiving holidays, I will bring the Defense Authorization bill to the floor, including a repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” the Nevada Democrat said in a statement. “Our Defense Department supports repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ as a way to build our all-volunteer armed forces. We need to repeal this discriminatory policy so that any American who wants to defend our country can do so.”
Reid’s announcement came after representatives from the Human Rights Campaign, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and the Center for American Progress Action Fund met with top advisers to Reid and President Barack Obama about the ban.
Senate Democrats have struggled with the issue since September, when they fell short of the votes they needed to move to the defense authorization bill, largely due to Republican objections over the repeal language. Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) has said he would consider stripping the DADT language in an attempt to pass the defense authorization.
Levin welcomed Reid’s announcement Wednesday night. “I will work hard to overcome the filibuster so that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is repealed and the [defense authorization] — which is critical to our national security and the well-being of our troops — is adopted,” he said in a statement.
The Pentagon is expected to release a yearlong study of the DADT on Dec. 1. The review is expected to be favorable toward repealing the policy, which was enacted in 1993 under President Bill Clinton.
Levin said he asked Reid to bring up his motion after the report is released and “following the hearings that I plan to hold on the matter, which should take place during the first few days of December.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, speaks with reporters in the Capitol after a speech on the Senate floor that accused the CIA of searching computers set up for Congressional staff for their research of interrogation programs.