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Collins And Brown Announce Support For Repeal, Day Two Of Hearings In 9 Minutes

Moments ago, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) joined Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) in announcing that she would vote to proceed to the National Defense Authorization Act — the legislation that contains Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal — under an open amendment process. Collins added that she would vote for the legislation “once the tax issue is resolved.” Brown did not overtly attach any conditions to his vote, stating simply, “I accept the findings of the report and support repeal based on the Secretary’s recommendations that repeal will be implemented only when the battle effectiveness of the forces is assured and proper preparations have been completed.”

During the second day of hearings, the Service Chiefs disagreed on whether to proceed with immediate repeal during a time of war, but all concurred their respective branches could implement repeal and that Congress should act to prevent the court from ordering the military to lift the ban without a proper implementation process. The Service Chiefs also hinted that they could support eventual repeal and said they trusted Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to consider their views before ordering the Armed Forces to lift the ban.

Below are highlights from today’s hearings:

Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) signaled that he would disregard the opinion of the military leadership and suggested “he could move to prevent floor debate on the 2011 defense authorization bill, which contains the repeal provision.”

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has not yet announced how he intends to proceed with the measure or if he’ll bring the bill to the floor under an open amendment process.