AmericaBlog’s Joe Sudbay spots this statement from White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer in the National Journal’s Need-To-Know memo — a follow up on Monday’s release saying that the White House opposed stripping Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell from the National Defense Authorization Act:
DON’T ASK. White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer told National Journal that repealing the ban on gays serving openly in the military is “at least worth a shot” in the lame-duck session of Congress that starts next week. But lawmakers would have to hang around longer than some might like: The military’s study on the proposed repeal isn’t due till December 1.
The sentiment is also being echoed by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI), a strong advocate of the amendment and the underlining bill. “We’re trying to get both things accomplished, and we just don’t know if we can,” Levin said after speaking to students at Aquinas College on Tuesday. “Republicans have filibustered the whole defense bill because of that provision. There’s some people who say that unless the defense bill has that provision, that we shouldn’t pass it. My position is, we should try to get both things done some way or another.” Levin’s comments come in the wake of reports that he is considering stripping the DADT provision from the NDAA in an effort to pass the overall bill.
Meanwhile, Sens. Joe Lieberman, Kirsten Gillibrand and Mark Udall have issued a statement warning that if repeal is not passed in the lame duck session, the issue could be decided in the courts. Yesterday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates — who has also called on the Senate to act during the lame duck — echoed these comments, telling ABC’s Cynthia McFadden, “The question is whether it is done by legislation that allows us to do it in a thoughtful and careful way, or whether it is struck down by the courts. Because recent court decisions are certainly pointing in that direction.”