As the House approaches a vote as soon as Thursday on repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed confidence that Democrats would have the votes they need.
"I think the votes are there for that," the California Democrat told reporters Thursday at her weekly press conference.
Compromise repeal language hammered out earlier this week with the help of the White House is among the 80-plus amendments to the defense authorization bill that the Rules Committee made in order Wednesday night.
The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.), would delay implementation of the repeal until a Pentagon review is complete and make repeal contingent on the president and top military officials certifying that the policy will not impede military readiness.
Leadership aides on both sides of the aisle echoed Pelosi's sentiment.
"It will likely pass on the floor," a GOP leadership aide said early Thursday noting that a Senate Armed Services Committee vote in favor of the language — expected for early Thursday afternoon — likely will sway some reticent House Democrats to vote for the repeal in the House.
Still, the aide predicted that Democrats are "going to have to make some guys vote for this who don't want to."
Pelosi did not directly respond to a question about whether she was concerned that the repeal represented a politically tough vote for members of her Caucus.
A Democratic leadership aide said the vote on Murphy's amendment could come later Thursday — or perhaps slip until Friday — but was anticipated before Congress leaves for its Memorial Day recess.
Pelosi described repeal as "the right thing to do," adding that the language also "defers" to the Pentagon report.
Democrats have been touting comments from Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Wednesday in which Mullen said he was comfortable with the proposed compromise because it includes "very clear language" giving military leaders a final say on implementation.