Advocates praise president's “leadership” in okaying “delayed and coordinated” end to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
BY PAUL SCHINDLER
In a dramatic development that makes prospects for a congressional vote on repealing the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy significantly more likely in the Pentagon budget authorization bill currently under consideration, the White House has given its blessing to an amendment by Senator Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut Independent Democrat, laying out a path to ending the 17-year-old ban on open gay and lesbian service.
In a letter to Lieberman released by the White House on the evening of May 24, Peter Orzag, director of the executive Office of Management and Budget, wrote, “The Administration is of the view that the proposed amendment meets the concerns raised by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”
The Lieberman amendment, which will be taken up by the Senate Armed Services Committee in its mark-up of the Defense Department budget bill on May 26 and 27, stipulates that repeal would become effective when the president, the secretary of Defense, and the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify to Congress that changes in military policies and regulations necessary to end the ban are consistent with military readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention goals.