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Moderate Republicans To Decide Fate Of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Kristen Villarreal |
December 1, 2010 | 10:09 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter


The Pentagon report on the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" showed widespread support from the military; now all eyes are on moderate Republicans who are the deciding factor in the policy's repeal.

"The Congress, who are Republican, who are not known for strongly anti-gay views, or known as being real crusaders for this social issue have been hinging on this report," Rachel Maddow said in an interview on MSNB's "News Nation" on Tuesday.

Moderate Republicans seem to be shying away from definitive responses to the release of the study. A National Journal article concluded support of DADT would tarnish their moderate image and support for repeal would risk the wrath of the conservative base.

The opposition is lead by Sen. John McCain, who called the repeal a political promise made by an inexperienced presidential candidate. 

Incoming Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk released in a statement that he will read every page of the report and seek a meeting with the Chief of Naval Operations before making any decision on the policy.

Sen. Susan Collins from Maine is said to want to keep focus on taxes and economy as a top priority. Collins further stated she will support repeal if Majority Leader Harry Reid allows an extended and open debate and amendment process. Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana will reportedly vote for repeal if Democrats provide a fair debate.

Sen. Olympia Snowe, also from Maine, is reportedly considering supporting the repeal.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John Ensign of Nevada reported pro-repeal votes but then backpedaled on their decisions Tuesday. 

Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who voted against the repeal in May, is reportedly still reviewing the report. 

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said it does not appear that any Repbublicans will switch their votes from the way they voted in September.

Democrats need 60 votes in the Senate to pass the repeal. With only 56 Democrats in Congress, help from Republican Senators would still be needed if every Democrat voted for the repeal. However, Democrats like Sen. Mark Pryor from Arkansas who will vote against the repeal, hurt the policy's chances of passing. 

Democrats do have an upper hand on swaying moderate Republican votes. Defense Secretary Robert Gates pressed the importance of DADT's repeal Tuesday. However, some party members refuse the claim they are still unsure of the thoroughness of the report's 10-month long findings. 

"Using the last days of a lame duck congress to hastily repeal 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' would be highly irresponsible," Republican Joe Wilson, Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military personnel, said Tuesday in a joint statement released with Republican Buck McKeon. 

Wilson went on to suggest that a thorough examination of the report is needed before lawmakers and military leaders take any action on such a significant policy.

Reach Reporter Kristen Villarreal here.



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