Sen. Robert Byrd’s (D-WV) office has just sent me an email saying that the senator, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, will support the compromise to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell after successfully inserting language into the amendment that would “give Congress an additional 60 days to thoroughly review the implementation policy once certified”:
“I did not want to blindly assent to repealing this law without giving the Congress an opportunity to re-examine the concerns of our Armed Forces and the manner in which they are being addressed.”
“Therefore, I worked with the Senate and House Leadership, Senators Lieberman and Levin, Congressman Murphy, the Administration and the Department of Defense to include a provision in the proposed compromise amendment that would delay the repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell’ policy for 60 days after receipt of the findings of the Pentagon Review and the determination of the proposed policy and regulation changes.”
“This period of time will allow the Congress, along with the American people, to thoroughly review the proposed policy recommendations to ensure that these changes are consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention for our Armed Forces.” “With these changes, I will support the amendment expected to be offered by Senator Lieberman to the Department of Defense Authorization bill.”
The new language will presumably send the issue back to Congress even after the results of the Defense Department review are certified by President Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen. The full compromise now looks something like this: 1) Congress passes repeal as an attachment to the defense authorization bill, 2) once the study is completed on December 1, officials will certify that it does not undermine military effectiveness 3) once it’s certified, Congress has 60 days to “review” it before DADT is repealed. Byrd provides the 16th vote for repeal on the Senate Armed Services Committee, but under this scenario the ban won’t be eliminated until sometime in early 2011.
Read Byrd’s full statement HERE.
Metro Weekly’s Chris Geidner, who has reviewed the new language, reports that the 60 day certification does not require additional Congressional action.
,Geidner: “Best I can tell, Byrd’s statement is more spinning than fact; amendment simply says the law takes effect 60 days after conditions met.”