With Congress soon back in Washington for the post-election “lame duck” session, HRC’s this week launched an aggressive grassroots campaign to urge Senate action on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal before the end of the year. Field organizers on the ground are focusing on eight key states to amplify the voices of veterans and other fair-minded Americans who know the time is right to repeal this law and strengthen our national security.
“In the waning days of the 111th Congress, Senators have one last chance to follow the advice of the President and top military leaders by sending ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ to the dustbin of history,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “It would be a travesty for a small group of senators to continue to hold hostage a bill with critical military equipment and pay raises just because some senators don’t want to even debate repeal.”
HRC organizers are already deploying to eight states critical to repeal – Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. They are recruiting and mobilizing veterans to speak out, holding public events and blanketing local media with pro-repeal messages to raise the issue’s profile. The latest grassroots push follows on the successful field campaign to pass repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee in May as well as the organization’s grassroots efforts over the August recess.
With the full House of Representatives and Senate Armed Services Committee having passed the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with the DADT repeal provision, the next step is for the full Senate to pass the defense bill. DADT repeal is just one small element of the legislation that authorizes thousands of defense programs critical to our national security. Without Senate action in the lame duck session, it would be the first time in 48 years that Congress failed to act on the NDAA.
Aside from enacting repeal following the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Working Group study on DADT repeal implementation, the bill authorizes 5.9 billion for defense programs in FY 2011. This includes: funds for a pay raise for the troops, and benefits for severely wounded combat veterans; funds for troop protection in Iraq & Afghanistan including for measures to counter IEDs and to up-armor Humvees; funds for missile defense programs, new aircraft and new vessels; billions for military construction, land acquisition, and military family housing functions; as well as billions for new equipment for National Guard and reserve units. Check out a full analysis of the NDAA.
Even if you don’t live in one of those states, take action now! A list of things you can do is at our Repeal DADT Action Center.