House Takes up Defense Appropriations and 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Repeal

The House today begins consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011.

The bill funds the Department of Defense and national security programs at the Department of Energy as well as supplemental appropriation for contingency operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and for continuing assistance for the earthquake victims in Haiti — among other defense-related measures.

Summary of the bill from the House Republican Conference:  H.R. 5136—National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011

The underlying bill does not include the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy regarding homosexuals openly serving in the military.  But House Democrats believe they may have enough votes to pass an amendment offered by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) that would repeal the policy as they begin floor consideration of the bill.

Added to the amendment was a deal worked out by the White House to delay implementation of the repeal until the study of the impact of the social engineering plan to our military readiness while fighting two wars.

Democrats blocked in committee a Republican amendment that would have prevented the transfer of any Guantanamo Bay detainees to U.S. soil.  Democrats also blocked access to the restricted annex review of the Fort Hood terrorist incident.

The Rules Committee was meeting in the late hours last night to hammer out which amendments Democrats will allow to come to the floor.

CBO estimates that appropriation of the authorized amounts in H.R. 5136 would result in outlays of $749 billion over five years.