WASHINGTON – Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was quoted in Congressional Quarterly Aug. 5 as saying “I do not plan to filibuster” the National Defense Authorization Act – the bill to which repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law is attached. However when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid moved to bring the bill up after the August recess, the Senator strenuously objected.
During an exchange between Sens. McCain and Carl Levin, McCain implied that repeal would be implemented before the Pentagon Working Group study is complete – a complete falsehood. He also brought up the seemingly irrelevant fact that last year the Senate passed a strong hate crimes bill – also over his objection – as an amendment to the Defense bill.
Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese released the following statement:
“In less than 24 hours, Sen. McCain seems to have changed his mind on blocking a critical defense bill in order to score some political points with his base. Further, the Senator willfully mischaracterized both the substance and the procedure surrounding repeal of the ban on openly gay and lesbian service members. Our country needs the best and brightest men and women in uniform and no one should play politics when it’s time to get down to doing the people’s business.
“Additionally, Senator McCain seemed fixated on rearguing the fight over the hate crimes bill, an issue that has been settled for more than a year. He tried his hardest to prevent Americans from being protected from hate crimes and lost. His attempt to prevent qualified openly lesbian and gay service members from serving will be a failing effort as well.”