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Tauscher to Introduce
Bill to Repeal DADT

Tauscher to Introduce
Bill to Repeal DADT

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Rep. Ellen Tauscher is set to introduce a bill in Congress Monday that would repeal "don't ask, don't tell." Tauscher has been carrying the bill since the last congress.

Rep. Ellen Tauscher will re-introduce a bill in Congress Tuesday to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," an action that she was supposed to take yesterday but was reportedly delayed.

"This is an important civil rights issue. We also need the strongest military possible, and we need to recruit the best and brightest Americans. Some happen to be gay," Tauscher said Monday during a forum on the issue at the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Dr. Nathaniel Frank, an expert on the policy who also spoke at the forum, called the California Democrat's action "brave" given the current climate in Washington regarding the economy and other pressing concerns.

Though the Obama administration has indicated in no uncertain terms its intention to repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the military, they have also wavered on timing.

At the forum, Congresswoman Tauscher said Democrats would need some time to make the case for repeal.

But Dr. Frank hoped they wouldn't wait too long to take action. "I don't begrudge the lawmakers and the President for wanting to be cautious about this because of the other priorities the nation faces and wanting to use political capital wisely," he said. "I think though, the real question is what are the costs and benefits of delay."

Frank noted that President Bill Clinton stalled on the issue back in 1993 and created a commission to study the effects of the military's policy on gays at the time. "That was what allowed the opposition forces to fester and rally to defeat him and it caused enormous harm to his political fortunes, to his agenda and to the military because the policy was a disaster," he said.

Frank, whose book "Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America" is being released Tuesday, added that "an enormous amount of research" already exists indicating that "don't ask" has a negative effect on military preparedness and troop morale.

"One thing that concerns me is that there was some word out of the administration that they should wait until the Iraq war was over before they did this," Frank said. "That's dangerous of course because we are not going to be living in peace time any time soon. Obama's time frame for getting the troops out of Iraq is August 2010, which is election season for the midterms and we don't know if the Democrats will be in control of Congress after this session." (Kerry Eleveld, Advocate.com)

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