Last night, Roll Call’s Jessica Brady reported that Republicans are abandoning the ongoing pre-conference meetings about the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) out of fear that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will insert a provision repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell even if the Senate doesn’t include it in its version of the bill. In other words, the Republicans are sacrificing any opportunity to pass the NDAA and all of the pay increases and critical authorizations that with it because they’re are afraid of a provision that the Secretary of Defense has fully endorsed:
Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and ranking member John McCain (R-Ariz.) are in talks about how to move a defense authorization bill to the floor in the coming weeks. House Armed Services staff members, including Simmons, were also part of staff-level discussions to smooth out differences between the House and Senate bills in an effort to speed conference negotiations, McKeon spokesman Josh Holly said.
But without assurances from Pelosi’s office that the Speaker would not add repeal language back into the measure, House Republican staffers have fled those talks. [...]
According to Simmons’ e-mail, House Republicans fear Pelosi would still find a way to push the DADT repeal and abortion language even if the House considers a Senate-passed bill that is void of such language.
“The Speaker could simply create either a self-executing rule and re-attach DADT and abortion,” Simmons wrote to top staffers for Levin, McCain and House Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.). “Since the majority had the votes before, it is safe to assume this would again pass in the House. Thus the House would send it back to the Senate where it would likely pass with DADT repeal and abortions included.”
None of this of course bodes very well for passing the NDAA in the lame duck (with or without the repeal amendment). But what’s stunning is that the GOP — the very same party that just a couple of years ago demonized Democrats for not supporting the troops and placing social policy ahead of the needs of the military — is now ignoring the calls of the Secretary of Defense in order to avoid the possibility that gay people would serve openly and proudly in the military.