Wednesday’s vote came after an hour of fiery and mostly partisan debate over the policy. Democrats and Republicans who have served in the military came forward with differing positions on the repeal.
“When you take an oath to die for freedom, it matters not who you love at home but that you love your country,” said Rep. John Boccieri (D-Ohio), who served in the Air Force for 17 years.
Veterans’ Affairs ranking member Steve Buyer (R-Ind.), who recently retired from the Army after 30 years, said it would be “a bad thing” to repeal the policy. “Tolerance does not require a moral equivalency. Think about it,” he said.
Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), who will chair the Armed Services Committee next year, said the administration did a “lousy” job of reviewing the policy and charged Democrats with pushing for a repeal as part of a “political and social experiment that we’re now going to press into the military.”
McKeon said he hopes the Senate will vote down the repeal when it comes up next week. But if it passes, he said to expect his committee to hold several oversight hearings next year to examine how military leaders are carrying out the repeal.
“I’d like to know the military’s plan for rolling this out: What are they going to do on day one, day two, day three?” he said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.