House is now debating the Standalone DADT bill, H.R. 2965

The House is now voting on H.R. 2965, which is the standalone DADT bill. Debate will last an hour, equally divided. This is it. Should be some good speeches on our side — and some hateful commentary from repeal opponents.

To watch the debate, there’s main CSPAN on TV, CSPAN online and also online here at the House website. And, SLDN is livetweeting the proceedings.

After the vote, there will be a press conference in the Rayburn Room of the Capitol:

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD), Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Patrick Murphy (PA-08) will be joined by Democratic Members, the Human Rights Campaign, Center for American Progress, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, and Service Members United for a press conference following consideration of House legislation to allow for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” today.

After the press conference, I think all the participants should march out the front doors of the House side, across the front of the Capitol and hold another presser in front of the Senate to demand a vote ASAP.

The Obama administration just issued a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) in support of H.R. 2965. For the record, this is much stronger than the last Administration position on DADT, which was issued on May 24, 2010. We’re in this mess because of the Administration’s strategy. Here’s the SAP:

The Administration strongly supports House passage of the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 2965, which would repeal the statute underlying “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” after the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that implementation of the necessary policies and regulations related to the statutory repeal is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces. Congressional enactment of this legislation would allow a repeal to be implemented under terms and a timetable that would be informed by the advice of our military leadership.

The recently-released comprehensive study by the Department of Defense shows that overwhelming majorities of our Service members are prepared to serve with Americans who are openly gay or lesbian; it concludes that overall, and with thorough preparation, there would be low risk associated with the repeal. The existing statute weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness, integrity, and equality.

We need to hear the President speak out forcefully, very forcefully, over the next couple days if this legislation is going to pass in the Senate. Secretary Gates better be working it, too.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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