U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 26, 2010
BYRD STATEMENT ON DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL REPEAL COMPROMISE AMENDMENT
Washington, DC -- U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement announcing that he will vote for a compromise amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Byrd worked successfully with interested parties to include some additional language that would give Congress an additional 60 days to thoroughly review the implementation policy once certified:
"I did not want to blindly assent to repealing this law without giving the Congress an opportunity to re-examine the concerns of our Armed Forces and the manner in which they are being addressed."
"Therefore, I worked with the Senate and House Leadership, Senators Lieberman and Levin, Congressman Murphy, the Administration and the Department of Defense to include a provision in the proposed compromise amendment that would delay the repeal of the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy for 60 days after receipt of the findings of the Pentagon Review and the determination of the proposed policy and regulation changes."
"This period of time will allow the Congress, along with the American people, to thoroughly review the proposed policy recommendations to ensure that these changes are consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention for our Armed Forces."
"With these changes, I will support the amendment expected to be offered by Senator Lieberman to the Department of Defense Authorization bill."
This would add 60 days onto the end of the process to allow Congress, the Administration and the public to "review" the findings and proposed policy changes. It's unclear at this point whether the delay comes after the review but before certification, or after certification but before the policy changes take effect. But there appears to be nothing (so far) in Byrd's language that would require additional action on the part of any branch of government, merely a delay. I will provide updates as I found out more if that is not the case.
With this, we will have 16 votes (including one Republican, Susan Collins) in favor of repeal to 12 opposed on the Senate Armed Services Committee going into tomorrow's vote.