The Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee has said that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military is a settled issue and he wouldn’t try to reverse it even if Mitt Romney wins the presidency and the GOP captures the Senate. “We fought that fight,” said Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), adding that his focus was on getting “the things that our war-fighters need.
Top priority is restoring funds to the Armed Forces’ budget after the latest defense cuts and a planned reduction of $487 billion over 10 years.
Congress is scrambling to come up with a way to avoid automatic, $1.2 trillion cuts in domestic and military programs over a decade. The failure of a bipartisan congressional super-committee last year to come up with a deficit-cutting plan will trigger the cuts, scheduled to begin Jan. 2.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned about the meat ax approach of the automatic cuts, arguing it would hollow out the force. The $492 billion, decade-long reduction would come on top of the $487 billion cut over 10 years that President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans agreed to last summer.
McKeon was one of those Republicans. He said Thursday it was a mistake, putting lawmakers in a difficult position.
The military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy was repealed in December 2010 and took effect in 2011. This month, for the first time, the Pentagon marked Pride month with an official celebration and gay and lesbian service members have been able to attend rallies and parades in uniform.