The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld is reporting that the White House, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and gay activists have reached an agreement to support legislation that would repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) this year, but delay implementation until President Obama, Gates, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen certify the results of a year-long Pentagon review scheduled to be released in December:
According to one person familiar with the White House meeting, the proposal that is being considered would repeal the current statute this year, but implementation of repeal would not take place until after completion of the Pentagon’s working group study in December. Further, repeal would require certification from President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Joint Chiefs Chair Admiral Mike Mullen that the new law will not have a negative impact on readiness, recruitment, retention and other key factors that affect the military.
The language would not include a nondiscrimination policy but rather will return authority for open service by gays and lesbians back to the Pentagon.
Activists hope that Gates’ support for the new strategy — he has previously warned Congress against repealing the ban before the military completed its review — could win over enough moderate Democrats and Republicans (Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) is said to be “neutral” on the issue but “moving in the right direction“) on the Senate Armed Services Committee to attach the provision to the defense authorization bill in the Senate Armed Services Committee. That vote, along with a vote on repeal in the House, are tentatively scheduled for Thursday.
Once Obama, Gates, and Mullen certify the results of the Pentagon study late this year or early next year, the legislation will trigger repeal and institute a new non-discrimination policy. Ironically, when the United States adopted ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in October of 1993, lawmakers relied on a similar strategy, passing the policy in Congress before the Pentagon issued rules on how to implement it.
Asked about the negotiations during today’s press briefing, Robert Gibbs said, “Obviously it’s likely that Congress is going to act this week. If they decide to do that, we’ll certainly examine what those efforts are.” Gibbs also suggested that the White House had called the meeting.
CNN’s Dana Bash just reported that Robert Gates could issue his support for the delay-implementation strategy later today.