Levin Says Panel May Have to Punt on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Posted November 20, 2009 at 3:54pm

Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said Friday that his panel may not call a hearing to review the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell— policy this year, as originally intended.

“It’s going to be tough to get it done,— Levin said, adding, “I don’t want to give up on December.—

Levin had planned to schedule a hearing on the subject this fall, and momentum appeared to be building for Congress to tackle the controversial issue. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sent letters to President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates urging them to weigh in on the policy that bans gays from openly serving in the military. Obama told guests at a Human Rights Campaign dinner last month that he will end the policy, although he did not specify a timeline.

But with Gates now engaged in a review of the shootings at the Army base at Fort Hood, Texas, an issue also before the Armed Services panel, Levin said there likely won’t be enough time this year to address the matter.

“I think [Gates] will come up when we have a hearing … but I want to consider what his timetable is,— Levin said.