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Congressman Bright's statement on repealing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy


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"It is unfortunate that the good, bipartisan work of the Armed Services Committee on the National Defense Authorization Act was marred by such a contentious amendment. Chairman Skelton and Ranking Member McKeon heeded the advice of Secretary Gates and chose not to address Don't Ask, Don't Tell during our committee mark, and the end product was a bill that passed unanimously out of our committee. Sadly, the full House did not follow the Armed Services Committee's model for bipartisanship and I had no choice but to vote against a bill which contained such a flawed amendment.

"Now is not the time to address DADT. A 17-year old policy should not be changed overnight, especially while we are fighting two wars overseas. Furthermore, Secretary Gates and the service chiefs of our four military branches would prefer to complete a comprehensive review of ending DADT before agreeing to any change in existing law. That review is already under way and will be completed by December 1st of this year. I see no reason for Congress to jump ahead of schedule and consider a change in military policy before the review is finished.

"Today's House passage of the National Defense Authorization Act is only one step in the process. The Senate must conclude its work before a conference committee. I hope this amendment is stripped during House and Senate negotiations on the National Defense Authorization Act."

Last week, Congressman Bright supported the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) when it passed unanimously out of the Armed Services Committee. The committee did not address or recommend a change in the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. The "Murphy Amendment", which will allow for the repeal of DADT, passed 234 - 194 last night and the National Defense Authorization Act passed 229 -- 186 this afternoon.

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