The Wall Street Journal reports that the attempt to repeal DADT legislatively is "all but lost for now" as top members of the Senate Armed Services Committee are working to strip it from the defense authorization bill to which it's attached.
Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and John McCain of Arizona, the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, are in talks on stripping the proposed repeal and other controversial provisions from a broader defense bill, leaving the repeal with no legislative vehicle to carry it. With a repeal attached, and amid Republican complaints over the terms of the debate, the defense bill had failed to win the 60 votes needed to overcome a procedural hurdle in the Senate in September. A spokeswoman for Mr. McCain, who opposes the repeal, confirmed he is in talks with Mr. Levin on how to proceed on the defense bill but didn't provide details.The Pentagon's repeal study is due on December 1st, but it looks as if they may not even wait for it to be issued.
Moving the defense bill is also complex, especially if it includes controversial measures, because it could take two weeks or longer on the Senate floor, and the coming session is expected to last only three or four weeks. Tommy Sears, executive director of the Center for Military Readiness, which opposes a repeal, rated the chance of action "extremely low." Richard Socarides, an activist and former adviser on gay rights to President Bill Clinton, said it was "extremely unrealistic'' that Congress would take it up this year.