Monday, November 29, 2010

Brody's Notes... "'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Is Not Going Anywhere" Says SC Republican Senator Lindsey Graham

By Mark Singer (Washington DC) NOV 29 |  Appearing on Fox News Sunday with fellow Senate Armed Services Committee member, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill (D),  South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham (R), told host Chris Wallace, in response to a question regarding the repeal of 'Don't Ask-Don't Tell;' "I think in a lame-duck setting, 'don't ask, don't tell' is not going anywhere."
Graham has had a long-standing position that Congress should wait until the release of the Defense Department study on the effects of repealing the policy on the military. That study is due to be made public Tuesday, followed by Senate Armed Services Committee hearings scheduled to be held on Wednesday and Thursday.
Senator McCaskill remarked that the ban on gays in the military should be lifted to continue the country's long-standing record of troops serving with a "sense of integrity."
Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CN), who also sits on the committee with Graham & McCaskill, had told journalists earlier this month when the lame-duck session started he felt confident that Democrats would have support from some Republicans in order to pass the Defense Authorization legislation to which the repeal is attached.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), has vowed to call for a full Senate vote on the legislation before the congressional session ends at Christmas break will need help from at least two Republicans to reach a filibuster-proof 60 votes to repeal it. Capitol Hill observers believe that the Democrats likely would experience stiff resistance passing the repeal legislation after the new Congress begins in January because midterm elections cut the Democratic majority in the Senate to just a few seats and also handed control of the House back to Republicans.
The current Democratically controlled House under the leadership of outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), has already voted in favor of giving the Pentagon authority to lift the ban.
U. S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates along with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,  Admiral Mike Mullen, both support lifting the policy. However, General. James F. Amos, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, said that in his opinion, lifting the ban would be disruptive to Marine combat units while the U.S. remains at war. 
Senator Graham, a U.S. Air Force Reserves JAG lawyer, also told Wallace Sunday,
"This is a political promise made by Senator Obama when he was running for president,” the South Carolina Republican said. “There is no groundswell of opposition to 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' coming from our military. This is all politics."
Arizona Senator John McCain, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee has criticized effort to lift the ban and accused President Obama of trying to fix a problem that does not exist.
"We don't have a problem." McCain said on CNN's "State of the Union. "The fact is, this was a political promise made by an inexperienced president or candidate for presidency of the United States. The military is at its highest point in recruitment and retention and professionalism and capability, so to somehow allege that this policy has been damaging the military is simply false."