The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell hit a speed bump today in the Senate with Lindsey Graham, a senior member on the Armed Services Committee and a Republican the Dems had been hoping Joe Lieberman could lure, coming out against the deal. Dems will need at least one Republican* — and likely a few — to overcome a Republican filibuster threat in the Senate. From Graham’s statement:
“I do not support the idea of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell before our military members and commanders complete their review. This so-called compromise would repeal the legislation first then receive input from the military. This is not the proper way to change any policy, particularly something as controversial as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Still, Dems are hopeful they can get the changes through the Senate as an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill. The House has its own challenges, with almost all Republicans opposing the change except for the GOP’s newest member, Hawaii’s Charles Djou. Most Republicans and many Democrats have been hesitant to expedite the process, preferring to wait until the Pentagon finishes its review on the matter due in December. Defense Secretary Robert Gates also wants Congress to wait, but “can accept the language in the proposed amendment,” his spokesman said yesterday.
*Lieberman’s office tells me that they already have one Republican on board: Susan Collins.