U.S. Rep. Travis Childers (MS-01) issued the following statement on his votes against the National Defense Authorization Act, as well as an amendment to repeal the current "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law:
"Our armed services men and women make great sacrifices on a daily basis, and I express my deepest gratitude for their continued service to our country. It is essential that members of our military have the protection and resources they need to do their job and do it safely, and that they receive the pay and benefits they've so honorably earned.
"I support provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act that increase troops' pay, expand TRICARE coverage, and invest in 21st century equipment to take care of our armed service members and their families and strengthen national security.
"However, I could not support a bill attached to the contentious and partisan issue of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' Earlier this week, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Department of Defense should complete its review on whether a change in this law is necessary before we address repeal legislation. That review is already under way and will be completed by December 1st of this year. We need to let our experienced military leaders finish their work before we consider any unnecessary changes.
"Today's vote is only one step in the process. The Senate still needs to consider this legislation, which will then be sent to a conference committee. I hope that the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell' amendment is removed during these negotiations and look forward to seeing a revised Defense Authorization bill that makes sense for our military and our country."