Politico’s Josh Gerstein reports that Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates urging the Pentagon to release the Working Group’s study of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell “as soon as possible”:
Some of our colleagues in the Senate share our view about the importance of passing a defense bill, but they are awaiting the release of the working group’s report before agreeing to begin debate on the bill. We are hopeful that release of the report and the opportunity for our colleagues to review its findings and recommendations will help inform their understanding and alleviate some concerns that they may have regarding the military’s capacity to implement repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in a manner that is consistent with our armed forces’ standards of readiness and effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention. Given the limited amount of time remaining in the 111th Congress, the soonest possible release of the working group’s report could therefore be instrumental in allowing the defense bill to move forward.
Indeed, my colleagues Jeff Krehely and Crosby Burns have released this list of 10 lawmakers “who have said they are waiting to hear from the troops and military leaders before deciding on DADT repeal.” These include: Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) and Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH). These senators should be held to task once the report comes out and forced to take a position on repeal.
Gates has urged the Senate to pass repeal in the lame duck session but at least two separate Pentagon spokespeople have thus far suggested that the study will not be released before December 1. On Friday, DoD spokesman Geoff Morrell suggested “the full report will be made public for all to review early next month.” Earlier in the week, Pentagon spokesman Col. David Lapan also said he was “not aware that there’s been any effort to speed it up.”