Update 1: Today, Robert Gibbs was pressed repeatedly by Kerry Eleveld of the Advocate. Think Progress posted the video (and includes a summary here) and titled it "Gibbs Says White House Will Wait For Pentagon To Complete DADT Review." But I'm hearing still the same vagueness we've been hearing. When asked if they would rule out a legislative repeal in 2010, Gibbs dodges by saying the Senate and House are their own bodies. He also mentions the White House was not involved in chasing reporters from the scene of yesterday's protest. H/T to hippiechick13 for posting.
Denver Post reports todayon Colorado lawmakers' Sen. Mark Udall and Jarod Polis effort to push forward the legislative repeal on the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy in the 2010 calendar year and the opposition it faces.The story begins:
WASHINGTON — The White House is facing a budding revolt over its carefully crafted strategy for repeal of the ban on gays serving openly in the military that would have pushed the decision past the November election.
Democrats in the House and Senate — including two key lawmakers from Colorado — say they are unwilling to wait for completion of a 10-month Pentagon study on repeal of the policy known as "don't ask, don't tell" and are instead moving to include immediate repeal in the defense reauthorization bill, scheduled for mark-up next month.
The article quotes Sen. Udall as describing repeal "within a vote or two" of inclusion into the military spending bill. This, if true, seems totally obtainable if the progressive community and the White House get behind efforts to whip the vote. It's remarkable it's already so close, given such efforts have been absent thus far. It also cites Jarod Polis' role on the House Rules committee as being key to inserting repeal language into the House Military Spending budget. From the article:
Congressional aides said both [Senate and House] approaches are likely to face opposition from the White House, which in February laid a timetable built around an extensive Pentagon study that won't be completed until Dec. 1, pushing a final move on the contentious issue past what's expected to be Democrats' toughest election cycle in years.
There has been reporting in the LGBT pressfor some time that the White House is actively undermining efforts to repeal in 2010. Anonymous sources from the White House called these reports "blatantly false," but refused to clarify the White House's preferred timeline or strategy. The original reporter stood by his sources, when challenged.
Regardless, this message does seem to be metastasizing with Ben Smith at Politco reported it Monday,and the Denver Post also framing the debate as Congress versus the White House.
The White House could end the story once and for all easily enough. It could address this directly and clarify this is an absolutely untrue rumor, they want to delay repeal until 2011 and if Congress wishes to move forward on a repeal vote in 2010, it does so with the full support of the Commander-in-Chief. However, even in the wake of the protest at Barbara Boxer's fundraiserand yesterdays' incidentin at the White House, Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton still refuses to give a simple "Yes" or "No" on repeal in 2010.
The LGBT community waited 17 years while we experimented with the "compromise" of Don't ask don't tell.
The LGBT community waited 8 long years while the GOP controlled Congress and the White House.
The LGBT community waited while the Stimulus package was fought over.
The LGBT community waited while the health care reform debate dragged on for 14 months. (And we sucked it up when the final bill excised all the LGBT-specificHouse Bill provisions our community had fought for.)
The LGBT community waited while the jobs bill was fought over.
The LGBT community is being asked to wait while Wall Street reform is being fought over.
But, now is the time to "walk and chew gum at the same time." Now is the time for "fierce advocacy" and the "fierce urgency of now." I thank Senator Udall for providing it. If Democrats suffer serious losses in November, repeal will be much more difficult. Or if they lose the House or the Senate, it could be off the table entirely for years.
Given that provisions of the healthcare bill do not kick in until 2014, it seems absolutely reasonable to vote in 2010 for repeal, with a delayed implementation until after the study is complete. Repeal can be sunset for sometime in 2011. Many LGBT lobbying groups including Human Rights Campaign,Servicemembers Unitedand the Servicemembers Legal Defense Networkhave indicated they are amendable to such a compromise. The LGBT community has been patient and are willing to be reasonable. But "trickle down equality" is not working. It's time to stop tinkering at the edges of repeal and end this policy once and for all.
A big thank you to Senator Udall for speaking on behalf of our brave servicemembers and all those who care about equal treatment and opportunity in America. And a thank you to other heroes in Congress who have led, including my own terrific Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Carl Levin, Joe Lieberman, Patrick Murphy, Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin and many others. You are American heroes.