Obama Could Veto Defense Spending Bill With DADT
Uh-oh. Now that the full House has voted to approve DADT and the defense funding bill, there may be a monkey wrench in the works.
The House also approved funding for an alternative engine that Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants to eliminate. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill if it's not removed. At issue is "an amendment providing $500 million to continue developing a second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter." The Senate version didn't include the engine funding.
The White House warned again on Friday that the president's advisors would push for a veto if the money for the second engine remained in the bill.
What needs to happen: When the bills go to reconciliation, the House engine amendment needs to be dropped.
Also, Secretary Gates told upset members of the military today not to worry, DADT's repeal won't result in changes right away.
"The legislation involved is a deferred repeal," he said. "It would repeal 'don't ask, don't tell,' but only after — I repeat after — the ongoing Department of Defense high-level review is completed."
Gates also emphasized that the policy would only change after he, the president and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certified that allowing gays to serve openly would not hurt "unit cohesion, military readiness, military effectiveness and recruiting and retention."
Reuters puts it this way:
Gates, in his first major address to U.S. troops on the politically charged legislation, said he did not expect Congress to pass the repeal for months, perhaps not until the end of the year.
Even then, the U.S. military would have to give final approval and would not do so without a comprehensive review that included troops' input and a cautious plan for implementation.
Prediction: The engine funding will be dropped, the bill will pass with a repeal of DADT, but due to the need for the completion of a review, relief will be at least months away.
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