“I don’t have any doubt that ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ will be a memory by the end of this year,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told Roll Call yesterday, before suggesting that she will have enough votes to pass the repeal and the more controversial Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). “I’m not going to bring up anything that’s not going to win,” Pelosi said. “And we feel that we’re in a pretty good, strong position on both bills”:
On Wednesday, Pelosi alluded to the thinking of many Democrats, which is to insert language repealing the policy into the defense authorization bill.
“‘Don’t ask, don’t tell,’ if it were to be part of a defense authorization bill, it would have to be something that we would have to make a decision about sooner than [ENDA],” Pelosi said. “And we’re having our conversations. “I support ENDA. I have for decades and it’s very important to me,” said Pelosi.
“When the opportunity is there, we want to bring that up, and I hope that will be soon,” she said. “We’ll see what people want to do. It’s not my own personal decision. We’ll just see where we go from here.”
Repeal of DADT is certainly morel likely in the House than the Senate. Yesterday, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) officially announced that he would not attach provision repealing DADT to his committee’s defense authorization measure, but leading sponsors of the measure, like Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) have pledged to move ahead on repeal — despite Robert Gates’ insistence that Congress hold off on legislation until the Pentagon completes its year-long review of the policy. Depending on what happens in the Senate next week — Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) is still struggling to convince 15 of 28 committee members to support the amendment in committee — Pelosi may either allow the measure to come to the floor for a vote or (should the Senate successfully attaches the measure) agree to it in conference.
Advocates are also eager to move ENDA, but worry that Republicans could include a ‘poison pill” motion to recommit that would strip the protections for transgendered individuals. The Hill reports, however, quotes “a leading House liberal” as saying that” House leaders had this week told similarly minded members of the caucus that ENDA was going to be taken up before the elections, regardless of what happens with “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” “It’ll be right before we leave,” this Democrat said, “to energize the base.” That vote may occur as early as the second week in June.