GetEqual at Reid’s office. Staffer on commitment to lame duck repeal – ‘I don’t know’

UPDATE: GetEqual is at Sen. Harry Reid’s office. A Tweet from Scott Wooledge:

@ltdanchoi asks Deputy Chief of Staff if @HarryReid will commit to repealing #DADT in lame duck: “I don’t know.”

If Dan is permitted to speak with the Senator, keep in mind what happened at Netroots Nation this year. I was at Dan’s table when he strode onto the stage and gave him his West Point ring and a letter:

This summer, Lt. Dan Choi made headlines at Netroots Nation in Las Vegas when he approached Senator Harry Reid on-stage at a main conference event and gave his West Point cadet ring to Senator Harry Reid. At that time, Senator Reid – in front of this large crowd of progressive/liberal bloggers and activists, Senator Reid promised Dan that he would return the ring by the end of this year when the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is repealed.

Dan’s question to Senator Reid – “can I expect my ring back this year or not?”

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

GetEQUAL and LGBT vets at Senator Reid’s office to talk DADT

UPDATE @ 10:29 AM: Key tweet from Scott Wooledge who was on the Hill:

.@LtDanChoi ask Deputy Chief of Staff if @HarryReid will commit to repealing #DADT in lame duck: “I don’t know.”

What a mess. (UPDATE @ 12:05PM: I deleted a tweet that apparently cited the wrong name of a staffer.)
UPDATE @ 10:16 AM: Latest tweet from GetEQUAL doesn’t bode well:

Leaving Sen Reid’s office with no answers – LGBT servicemembers are asking for their jobs back and the Senator has no response.

The servicemembers were trying to ascertain when exactly the Defense bill will be on the Senate floor in the lame duck session. As The Hill reported today, “Much depends on how Reid handles the issue.” Looks like no one has been arrested — so far.
Via GetEQUAL’s tweets, the servicemembers who attended the vigil this morning are now on Capitol Hill. They are at Senator Reid’s office “to ask him when he will show leadership in repealing #DADT.” And, there is the matter of Dan Choi’s West Point ring. At Netroots Nation, Choi gave Reid the ring — and Reid promised to return it when the law was repealed. Not seeing that happen anytime soon.

I’m told six Capitol Hill police officers, holding zip-ties, were waiting at Reid’s office when the group arrived. (Note: This isn’t Reid’s Majority Leader’s office in the Capitol. It’s his Senate office in the Hart Senate Office building.)

Here’s a photo sent by Sean Carlson.

And, Dan Choi talking to Reid staffers:

We’ll update this as event unfold.


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DADT Repeal “In Harry Reid’s Hands”

Kerry Eleveld reports at the Advocate that unless the Senate acts on DADT before the midterms, proponents fear its repeal will be delayed by a year or more. Activists are pushing Sen. Harry Reid to schedule a September vote on the defense funding bill to which the compromise DADT repeal is attached.

“I’m a little anxious,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. “The reality is the number of legislative days in this Congress are rapidly dwindling, and we need to see that the defense authorization bill up on the Senate floor in September.” When Congress returns to Washington next week, the Senate will have until October 8 when they leave for the midterms to take the crucial vote on the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, which contains the provision to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

But one political operative and repeal advocate noted the bill will be competing for attention with new legislation Democrats are pushing that would provide tax breaks for businesses. “The Democrats are trying to figure out what they can effectively do in those four weeks to distinguish themselves from Republicans before the midterm elections,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “The tax cut issue may provide that contrast.”

The source wagered that if the Senate floor vote does not take place before the midterms, the defense funding bill would have a “50-50” shot of passing before the end of this Congress. If it is not finalized by year’s end, the repeal effort will die. Reid’s spokesman, reiterating statements he made last month, told The Advocate the defense authorization bill stood a chance of being addressed upon lawmakers’ return next week. “It’s on the list of things we would like to do in the next few weeks,” said Jim Manley.

NOTE: The above photo was taken at Netroots Nation by Pam Spaulding after Lt. Dan Choi bounded on to the stage to shake Reid’s hand and hear his promise to repeal DADT.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright