Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Sunday that Congress is unlikely to vote this year on repealing the military’s ban on openly gay service members because of time constraints.
The repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is one of several provisions tucked into the defense authorization bill, which has yet to be scheduled for a Senate vote in the lame-duck session. During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” McConnell said another provision that would allow for abortions at military hospitals is also holding the bill back.
“Once you get on the defense bill, it typically takes two weeks,” the Kentucky Republican said. “I don’t see how we can possibly finish the defense authorization bill, a two-week bill, wholly aside from these controversial items in it ... before the end of the year.”
Asked whether he thinks there are enough votes to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” McConnell deferred to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is leading the opposition to repealing the policy.
“I intend to follow his lead,” McConnell said. “We’ll find out when we finally get around to debating this bill, which I think will not be before the end of the year.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.