The House will take up a stand-alone bill repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that bars openly gay service members, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced Tuesday morning.
The Maryland Democrat said he would co-sponsor a measure with Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) to repeal the policy. He said the duo would go to the floor to introduce the bill at noon Tuesday.
“I am hopeful that it will pass handily through the House and then I am hopeful that the Senate will take it up,” he said.
Hoyer said he spoke earlier Tuesday to Defense Secretary Robert Gates about his plans to move ahead with a standalone repeal. Gates “reiterated statements that he has made in the past … with reference to the importance of passing legislation,” Hoyer said.
Hoyer said Gates emphasized that he wanted Congress to pass legislation “so that this can be an orderly transition, a planned and thoughtful transition.”
The House included language repealing the policy in May as part of the annual defense authorization bill. But the Senate has failed to advance the defense measure over objections to the DADT language. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) — the two chief advocates of repeal in the Senate — have said they would pursue standalone legislation.
Hoyer said the House bill would mirror the Lieberman-Collins bill.
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.