Military Readiness Enhancement Act


Military Readiness Enhancement Act

The Military Readiness Enhancement Act is a bill introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives in the 109th and 110th Congress by Marty Meehan and the 111th Congress by Ellen Tauscher. The purpose of the bill is to amend title 10, United States Code, to enhance the readiness of the Armed Forces by replacing the policy concerning disclosing one's homosexuality in the Armed Forces, referred to as "Don't ask, don't tell" DADT, with a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Patrick Murphy took over the sponsorship of the legislation after Tauscher's resignation in June 2009.[1]

The bill remained stalled in committee each time it was introduced. When the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 ended DADT in September 2011, it did not establish a nondiscrimination policy.

Contents

History

The 2005 bill had 122 cosponsors and the 2007 bill had 149 cosponsors. They were both referred to the House Committee on Armed Services and the Subcommittee on Military Personnel but failed to advance. The 2009 bill has 192 cosponsors as of April 22, 2010, and was referred to the House Committee on Armed Services and the Subcommittee on Military Personnel.[2] The 192 cosponsors in the House of Representatives consists of 190 Democrats and Republicans Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Joseph Cao.

On March 3, 2010, Sen. Lieberman introduced legislation in the Senate along with original cosponsors include Democratic Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan, Mark Udall of Colorado, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Roland Burris of Illinois, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Barbara Boxer of California, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, and Diane Feinstein of California.[3]

Supporters

On October 16, 2009, The Hill reported that Congressional leaders expected the legislation to pass in early 2010. [4] Barack Obama stated that if passed by Congress, he would sign a bill repealing "don't ask, don't tell".[1] Supporters of the repeal wanted Congress to eliminate the policy with the 2010 defense authorization bill in April 2009.[5] In July 2009, Patrick Murphy announced a "Voices of Honor" tour with the Human Rights Campaign to increase awareness of the bill.[1]

On February 14, 2010, former Secretary of Defense & Vice-President Dick Cheney indicated on ABC's This Week that he believes the time is right to repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.[6] On February 21, 2010, Gen. David Petraeus commented on NBC's Meet The Press that he's not sure that troops in the field care about the sexual orientation of fellow service members and that he's served alongside gays and lesbians, and what matters are someone's skills and smarts.[7]

On February 22, 2010, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) announced his intent to sponsor Senate legislation to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. [8] On February 25, 2010, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus testified "that his personal view was to support the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'" He told the senators, "I think it's important to remember that we have gays in the military right now. It's only a question of whether they can serve openly or not, and I think the chairman of the joint chiefs set out that case pretty well.'"[9]

On March 4, 2010, Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley, appearing before a Senate panel, responded to Senator Lieberman, that his personal view is that soldiers should not be discharged just because of their sexual orientation. While Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, expressed that his view is dependent on the consequences given a change in the policy and that is might be premature to act.[10]

On March 9, 2010, a Senate press release announced the support of nine additional Senate Democrats and quoted Sen. Bob Casey explaining, "As we continue to fight two wars, our national security depends on a strong and talented military.... And ending this discriminatory practice is the right thing to do for our military and for those who want to openly serve their country. I am pleased to join my colleagues in the Senate, as well as the effort led by Patrick Murphy in the House that continues to draw the support of past and present military leaders and other officials.”[11]

Opposition

On March 18, 2010, retired US general John J. Sheehan, at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, partially blamed Dutch armed forces' allowance of gays in their military for the massacre at Srebrenica, Bosnia. Sheehan's remarks were condemned by the Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. Sheehan has since apologized, and stated that the sexual orientation of the Dutch soldiers did not affect their performance. Sheehan also stated that a retired Dutch commander, whom Sheehan said also blamed the gays for the massacre, did not actually make any such comment.[12]

Legislative history

Congress Short title Bill number(s) Date introduced Sponsor(s) # of cosponsors Latest status
111th Congress Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2009 S. 3065 August 5, 2009 Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) 33 Referred the Armed Services Committee
H.R. 1283 March 3, 2009 Ellen Tauscher (D-CA); Patrick Murphy (D-PA) 192 Referred to Subcommittee on Military Personnel
110th Congress Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2007 H.R. 1246 March 28, 2007 Marty Meehan (D-MA) 149
109th Congress Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2005 H.R. 1059 March 2, 2005 122

References

  1. ^ a b c Sherman, Emily (2009-07-09). "Vet-turned-congressman: End 'don't ask, don't tell'". CNN. http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/07/08/murphy.gay.military/. Retrieved 2009-07-09. 
  2. ^ H.R.1283 Cosponsors - THOMAS (Library of Congress
  3. ^ Eleveld, Kerry (2010-03-03). "Exclusive: Lieberman Details DADT Repeal Bill". The Advocate. http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/03/03/Lieberman_Introduces_DADT_Repeal_Bill/. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  4. ^ Zimmermann, Eric; Romm, Tony (2009-03-02). "Congressional leaders signaling move to repeal 'Don't ask, don't tell'". The Hill. http://thehill.com/homenews/house/63511-congressional-leaders-signaling-move-to-repeal-dont-ask-dont-tell-policy. Retrieved 2009-10-16. 
  5. ^ Miller, Sunlen; Davis, Teddy (2009-03-02). "Calls for Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" - When Will the President Act?". ABC News. http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/03/calls-for-repea.html. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  6. ^ Bolcer, Julie (2010-02-15). "Dick Cheney for DADT Repeal". The Advocate. http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/02/15/Cheney_for_DADT_Repeal/. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  7. ^ Gearan, Anne (2010-02-21). "Petraeus: Troops may not care if gay ban repealed". Mercury News. http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_14444421?nclick_check=1. Retrieved 2010-03-03. [dead link]
  8. ^ http://lieberman.senate.gov/index.cfm/news-events/news/2010/2/lieberman-announces-plan-to-introduce-repeal-of-dont-ask-dont-tell
  9. ^ Geidner, Chris (2010-02-25). "Don't Ask, Don't Tell … Don't Vote?". Metro Weekly. http://www.metroweekly.com/news/?k=4936. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  10. ^ Dimascio, Jen (2010-03-04). "Joe Lieberman presses on 'Don't Ask'". Politico. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0310/33930.html. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  11. ^ Garcia, Michelle (2010-03-09). "More Senators Backing DADT Repeal". The Advocate. http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/03/09/More_Senators_Backing_DADT_Repeal/. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  12. ^ Corder, Mike (2010-03-9). "Dutch fuming at retired US general's gays comment". Yahoo. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100319/ap_on_re_eu/eu_netherlands_us_military_gays. Retrieved 2010-03-22. [dead link]

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