WASHINGTON— House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Tuesday announced that the House will vote this week on a standalone bill that would strike down “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday indicated on her Twitter feed that the vote on the bill, which Hoyer and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) co-sponsored, could come as early as Wednesday.
“This discriminatory and harmful policy has weakened America’s security by depriving us of the work of tens of thousands of gay and lesbian troops who have served their country honorably,” Hoyer said in a statement. “And it has severely compromised our Armed Forces’ core value of integrity.”
The standalone legislation, introduced last week by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), aims to lift the military’s ban on openly gay soldiers in the wake of the Senate’s recent failure to pass the annual defense spending bill (to which the repeal is attached as a provision). LGBT equality advocates largely concur that the new bill—whose chances at passage remain uncertain with other politically-charged still looming in the dwindling days of Congress’ lame-duck session—may be the last viable chance at ending the anti-gay policy for at least two years. Republicans, a majority of whom say they oppose DADT’s repeal, will take over the House and gain multiple Senate seats in January, almost certainly forming a Congress far less receptive to abolishing the anti-gay law.
The last-minute House vote would eliminate would put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), to prolong the Senate’s lame-duck session past this weekend to allow debate on the bill if it passes the House.