By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com May 11 2010 4:30 PM ET
Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin has dismissed calls from Defense secretary Robert M. Gates to delay a legislative repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" until a military review of the policy is completed.
Levin asserted that the Obama administration cannot dictate the timing of any repeal to Congress.
“We’re not a rubber stamp for the president,” he said, according to Congressional Quarterly. “He says he wants to repeal ‘don’t ask.’ Why shouldn’t we repeal it?”
In two Tuesday afternoon tweets, CNN senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash wrote that Levin said the decision to act on repeal depends not on Gates's approval, but on whether there are sufficient votes to support it.
Levin also said that he "has favored the repeal and reached that conclusion prior to receiving the report," according to Bash.
Levin's comments come on the same day as National Veterans Lobby Day on DADT, a lobbying campaign timed to take place before the defense authorization bill is drafted. Advocates for repealing the policy have been pushing for the bill to include repeal language. That effort was dealt a blow by Gates's letter earlier this month, which urged Congress not to vote on DADT repeal prior to completion of the military study.
Prior to Gates’s letter, Levin was just one to two votes shy of the 15 needed to attach a repeal measure to this year’s authorization bill in committee.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi, said Tuesday she believes the policy will be repealed, but she wouldn’t commit to a deadline on the full floor vote. She said she would also consult with House Armed Services Committee chairman Ike Skelton, “about how he wants to proceed with this bill,” CQ reports. Skelton has voiced his opposition to lifting the ban in recent months.
“The more you see our men and women in uniform and the pride we take in them, that we would be discriminating ... is completely contradictory and has no place in our country," Pelosi said.