Thursday, July 30, 2009

VIDEO: Daily Beast Speaks to Sen. Gillibrand About DADT Hearings; Rep. Hastings Tells Maddow White House Blocked DADT Amendment

Action around Don't Ask Don't Tell has been heating up at the capital. Having been so wrapped up with the Leadership Summit and all the marriage equality news around the nation, I haven't had much time to report on the issue. However, here is a quick video recap with links to accompanying stories.

The Daily Beast talks to Sen. Karen Gillibrand about her unsuccessful attempt to temporarily suspend the enforcement of DADT and her wonderfully successful move to hold the first Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the law since its passing in 1993.

In the House, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) speaks to Rachel Maddow about how the White House undermined his efforts to pass an amendment that would put an end to funding DADT investigations, a tactic that American Blog says ". . . Republicans have used for years to stop funding of programs they didn't like. For years, Republicans blocked federal funding of DC's domestic partnerships and needle exchange. I'm not sure if this was the best approach, but, sometimes, the only way to make progress is to use (or abuse) the appropriations process. But, a funny (or not so funny) thing happened on the way to the Appropriations bill mark-up. In his own words, Hastings was pressured by the White House and others to drop his amendment."

Also from America Blog:

Last night on Rachel Maddow's show, during her interview with Rep. Alcee Hastings, she read a statement from SLDN's communication director Kevin Nix. I got a copy of the statement. Kevin says a lot here:
We hope it’s not true the White House pressured Rep. Hastings to withdraw his amendment to stop funding “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” investigations. Such a move would go against President Obama’s commitment to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Now, we need to see some positive action, some follow through from this White House. The Commander in Chief has a key leadership role in ending this bad law. He should publicly endorse the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, sponsored by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), that overturns DADT. The President and Congress need to get on the same page and same timeline in ending DADT and both need to act with a sense of urgency. Service members are getting fired literally every day just because they are gay or lesbian, and our national security is at risk because we’re losing some of the best and brightest linguists, medics, pilots, and intelligence analysts under this archaic law.
So, as far as those who know can tell, there's been nothing from the White House. SLDN needs "to see some positive action, some follow through from this White House." They haven't seen any yet. If SLDN doesn't know what the Obama administration's plan is, the plan doesn't exist.

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