The Next DADT Hurdles



DADT X390 (PHOTOS.COM) | ADVOCATE.COMA possible amendment that would alter the repeal provision is a greater threat in the eyes of most advocates.

One avenue Republicans considered in the Senate committee was widening the scope of the certification process. As it stands now, the president, secretary of Defense, and chair of the Joint Chiefs have to sign off on repeal before the law can be lifted. Some detractors have considered trying to add the chiefs of the respective armed services as signatories, which would make certification exponentially more difficult since they have all signaled opposition to repeal.  

But opponents of repeal would have to find 51 votes in order to amend the provision or strip it out.

“The deck is stacked in our favor because of the fact that the language is already in the bill,” Sainz said, “but we will have to aggressively defend our ground.”

Sarvis pointed out that providing such a role to the service chiefs would be an “unprecedented” expansion of their duties.

“The chiefs are not the policy makers here — that's the role of Congress,” he said. “Their role will come in the implementation.”

Other potential snags include a provision in the House version of the legislation that provides $500 million to fund development of an engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The White House has threatened to veto the bill if the funding remains intact.

The full Senate is expected to vote on the legislation in June or July. The Senate version of the bill will then be reconciled with the House version during August and September and sent back to both chambers for final approval. If the bill stays on track, it should be signed into law by President Barack Obama in late October or early November.