Teddy P notes that the Senate Armed Services Committee passed the Lieberman amendment, which would start the process to repeal the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy on gay service members. It’s unlikely that opponents of repeal have the votes to strip out the amendment on the Senate floor, and likely that the Senate can pass the defense authorization bill over an expected filibuster.
So all eyes move to the House, where Rep. Patrick Murphy has introduced his identical amendment on the Senate floor. They have five minutes per side of debate (although Republicans, who have essentially been debating this topic all day, want to extend debate), and then we’ll see a vote shortly. I would not expect this amendment to go to the floor without having the votes.
Rep. Buck McKeon has made the odd claim that because newspapers are writing headlines like “Congress repeals DADT,” that’s somehow more consequential than the actual policy, which doesn’t repeal the policy until after review and a certification by the President, Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
…John Lewis calls Don’t Ask Don’t Tell “an affront to human dignity, and the dignity and worth to every man and woman serving in our military.”
…Speaker Pelosi is winding up this debate with the final speech. Says “we honor the values of our nation, and we close the door on fundamental unfairness.”
…OK, vote up now, a recorded vote has been asked, but the actual vote won’t happen at this time. They’re doing the recorded votes in a block later on in the evening.
…I would expect a recorded vote on the Murphy amendment within the next hour.
While we wait, here are some video highlights from the debate.
…Voting on the Murphy amendment is coming up next. Voting is taking place right now on the Pingree amendment, which would strip out funding for a new engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Obama Administration has vowed to veto the bill if the funding remains intact. Well, this amendment to strip out the funding is about to fail, with Democrats split almost down the middle on it. That obviously complicates final passage of the defense authorization bill, but as of yet, the funding for the new engine isn’t in the Senate’s version of the bill. It’s at least possible they never put it in (though I’d expect the amendment on the floor) and then it gets stripped out in conference. Otherwise, Obama would face the prospect of having to back up his threat to veto a bill with a major gay rights initiative in it.
…OK, voting on the Murphy is up now. Live on CSPAN.
…There are 224 recorded yes votes at this point, so the Murphy amendment will pass the full House of Representatives.
…The Murphy amendment passes the House, 234-194, with 5 Republicans voting in favor. Roll call to come. This means that the amendment is in the House and Senate versions of the bill, as of tonight.
…Courage Campaign tweets that the five Republican votes in favor were Djou (HI), Cao (LA), Ron Paul (TX), Ros-Lehtinen (FL) and Biggert (IL).