Murphy Moves on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Rep. Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania officially became the lead sponsor on the "don't ask, don't tell" repeal bill on Tuesday night, but he's been stepping up efforts to get the bill moving for months.

BY Kerry Eleveld

July 07 2009 11:00 PM ET

What's the timeline for moving forward on this? There's still no bill in the Senate, which is not your concern in some ways. I know that House Armed Services Committee chairman Ike Skelton has agreed to hold hearings this year…Which was a big thing -- we had the subcommittee hearing last year, but that Chairman Skelton on the day I took over agreed to do a full committee hearing on it, was great progress. The folks in the Senate, they're on their own timeline, but it's up to us to get it to them. We're going to get this passed and the president has made it clear that if we put a bill on his desk to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," he'll sign it into law.

Is there any possibility of moving on it before the end of the year?I think the winds of change are in the air, and I'm very excited about the progress we're making. I'm going to meet with my colleagues again this week. This is not going to happen overnight though. I've been here long enough, in my whole two and a half years as a representative, to realize that it's going to take months and months of due diligence and tenacity. But that's what I bring to the table and that's why I'm launching this website and doing this national Press Club kickoff -- that's why we're doing smaller press conferences in congressional districts and that's why I'm meeting with members one-on-one -- because that's what it's going to take.

Tell me who this website is for? It's going to be for all Americans and all the troops to sign on and tell us their story of how it's affecting them, why they're for ending the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, and to tell them what they can do to take action, updates on what we're doing here in Washington and around the country. So it's very exciting.

Where do the numbers stand on the road to getting 218 votes for passage?We've got 151 cosponsors -- I mentioned we got another one today and two from leadership last week -- that's more than we've ever had in the past and we're going to keep pushing. And when it comes up for a vote, we're going to pass this, and hopefully the Senate will do the right thing and put this on the president's desk.

Tags: Politics

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