The hold up on DADT is in the Senate, according to an article by Kerry Eleveld:
"Clearly the world changed dramatically with the Gates letter," said one Hill veteran who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Everyone is trying to figure out how to put Humpty Dumpty back together again."
The source said that prior to Gates's letter, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee was just one to two votes shy of the 15 needed to attach a repeal measure to this year's Department of Defense authorization bill in committee. Folding repeal into the must-pass Defense funding bill in committee would place the onus on those who oppose repeal to find 51 votes to strip out the measure on the Senate floor.
Multiple sources worried that moderate Democrats such as Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia would now be nearly impossible to sway.
"When people are asked to vote against the recommendations of the Defense Secretary, that makes it a very heavy lift," said the source.
Well, that's part of the problem with naming a Republican to be Defense Secretary. Even if they aren't being offensive for the sake of being offensive and appear to be normal human beings, they still throw monkey wrenches to prevent liberal change. It's how they roll.
The House is saying they won't do it if the Senate won't:
They both agreed that Rep. Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania, chief sponsor of the House repeal bill (H.R. 1283), had the 216 votes to pass the measure as either a stand-alone bill or an attachment to the Defense authorization bill on the House floor.
"The question is, does the House want to take a vote on something that might go nowhere in the Senate?" said the second source. The House has already passed more than 300 bills this Congressional session on which the Senate has yet to act, and as the midterm elections loom, some members worry that every new vote is a potential liability that could be turned against them.
Of course. Rep. Obey just retired for that reason; he said he got sick of explaining to people the arcane rules of the Senate that prevent anything left of the GOP from getting done.
But here's something I found particularly interesting. I assumed up to this point that the White House had been coordinating their message with the DoD on this issue, but Eleveld's source implies otherwise:
The source said there were likely two schools of thought in the White House on the matter.
"Some are probably saying, 'We made deal with Gates and we just need to stick with that.' Others might be saying, 'The community is kicking the crap out of us right now and we need to come up with a Plan B.'"
The "deal" the source referred to was the probable understanding that the Pentagon would be allowed to steward the implementation process according its own timeline. The source added that finding a "Plan B" would require the White House to reengage Secretary Gates on the matter of repeal in order to find common ground.
They say they're feeling the pressure, but something tells me that it's not enough for them. Discussing a bill with someone who supposedly works for the president is still in the "too much risk/work" category, so I find it hard to believe that they're at all committed to repeal.
Ultimately, though, it's just saddening to see all this deference to the Pentagon. They're not in charge. The Constitution doesn't put them in charge here, and Gates's excuse that the troops will feel disappointed and rejected and just stop working because they're so sad that Congress didn't listen to their opinions is just laughable (I don't recall a year-long study of the military happening before the Iraq War to find their opinion on the topic).
The military isn't a democracy, and the institution that is a democracy (Congress) actually has the power here. There are some countries where the military has more power than the legislature, but we're not supposed to be living in one of those.