U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement announcing that he will vote for a compromise amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill to repeal "Don't Ask -- Don't Tell." Byrd worked successfully with interested parties to include some additional language that would give Congress an additional 60 days to review the implementation policy once certified:
"I did not want to blindly assent to repealing this law without giving the Congress an opportunity to re-examine the concerns of our Armed Forces and the manner in which they are being addressed."
"Therefore, I worked with the Senate and House Leadership, Senators Lieberman and Levin, Congressman Murphy, the Administration and the Department of Defense to include a provision in the proposed compromise amendment that would delay the repeal of the "Don't Ask -- Don't Tell' policy for 60 days after receipt of the findings of the Pentagon Review and the determination of the proposed policy and regulation changes."
"This period of time will allow the Congress, along with the American people, to thoroughly review the proposed policy recommendations to ensure that these changes are consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention for our Armed Forces."
"With these changes, I will support the amendment expected to be offered by Senator Lieberman to the Department of Defense Authorization bill."