The Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson is reporting that Republicans on the Armed Services subcommittee have scheduled a Friday hearing about the implementation of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, setting up a potentially acrimonious confrontation between opponents of lifting the ban and the Pentagon officials in charge of instituting it:
The House Armed Services personnel subcommittee, which will hold the hearing, is chaired by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), who’s renowned for shouting “You Lie!” to President Obama during the 2010 State of the Union address. Wilson was a vocal opponent of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal last year and cast a “no” against ending the military’s gay ban. […]
The hearing apparently has the endorsement of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Asked via e-mail whether the speaker supports the hearing to oversee “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal implementation, Michael Steel, a Boehner spokesperson, replied, “That seems to be appropriate.”
While Congressional oversight of repeal seems like a legitimate end, Republicans have used the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy as a means of drumming up their conservative base and are reportedly planning an additional full committee hearing on April 7. At least three Republican presidential nominees have come out in favor of reinstating the policy and 25 Congressional Republicans are co-sponsoring legislation that would add the four military service chiefs to the list of those who must sign off on repealing the policy before it can be officially scrapped. Two of the sponsors are members of the personnel subcommittee.
Wilson, the committee’s chairman, has said that it was “irresponsible” for Congress to “repeal the ban on openly gay service members without giving the House of Representatives time to hold hearings” and promised to “support the repeal of the repeal.”