White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal was among “a whole host” of measures President Barack Obama believes can be accomplished before year’s end, but he put ratification of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty at the top of that list after taxes.
“Fairly soon after [tax cuts], the Senate will move to the debate on START ratification,” Gibbs said. “This is a treaty that has the votes to pass the Senate and I believe will pass the Senate before we go home for the holidays.”
The Senate was expected to take a vote Monday on the tax deal struck between the president and Republicans.
Asked where the DREAM Act and DADT repeal stood on the president’s priority list of “achievable” measures, Gibbs declined to be specific.
“There’s not a list of 1, 2, 3, 4,” he said. “There’s are a series of things I think the president believes are important and can be done this year.”
He added that in his view, “we’re closer than we’ve ever been to making repeal a reality.”
Asked by The Advocate whether other options would be on the table if the legislative effort fails — a definite possibility — Gibbs remained optimistic instead of discussing alternatives.
“Well, I should say this — I think it’s a distinct possibility ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ will be repealed by the end of this year, and that’s where our efforts will be,” he said.
Although Gibbs indicated that Congress would likely be in session through this weekend and into next week, time continues to run out on the National Defense Authorization Act and the newly introduced stand-alone repeal bill.