Senators to call for full-court press on 'Don't ask, don't tell' repeal

Some of the chief supporters of repealing the ban on openly gay people serving in the military are upping their pressure on Congress to scrap the law this year.

Nine senators will be joined by the nation’s most prominent gay rights organizations on Thursday to make the case that Congress should repeal the Clinton-era law, known as “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” as part of the massive 2011 defense authorization bill.

Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Mark UdallMark UdallEnergy issues roil race for Senate Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium Two vulnerable senators lack challengers for 2016 MORE (D-Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Roland Burris (D-Ill.), Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerFight over California drought heats up in Congress Dems see political gold in fight over Trump's taxes Latinos key in Democratic battle for California delegates MORE (D-Calif.), Ron WydenRon WydenDems see political gold in fight over Trump's taxes Puerto Rico debt relief faces serious challenges in Senate Senate panel delays email privacy vote amid concerns MORE (D-Ore.), Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyOvernight Cybersecurity: Guccifer plea deal raises questions in Clinton probe Senate panel delays email privacy vote amid concerns Senate amendments could sink email privacy compromise MORE (D-Vt.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinFight over California drought heats up in Congress Clinton emails dominate Sunday shows Feinstein: 'Enough is enough' on Clinton's email controversy MORE (D-Calif.), and Al FrankenAl FrankenDems press ITT Tech to give students right to sue Consumer internet privacy: Leaving the back door unlocked Senators unveil bill to overhaul apprenticeship programs MORE (D-Minn.) will hold a press conference at the Capitol Visitors Center at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday. They will be joined by representatives from the Human Rights Campaign; the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network; Servicemembers United; the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and the Third Way.

Repeal still faces an uphill battle in Congress because of opposition from key Republicans, including Sen. John McCainJohn McCainGOP senators split over Cruz's aid on campaign trail Why a power grid attack is a nightmare scenario Senate fight brews over Afghan visas MORE (Ariz.), who said he would filibuster a defense bill that contains the provision. Sen. Carl LevinCarl LevinCarl, Sander Levin rebuke Sanders for tax comments on Panama trade deal Supreme Court: Eye on the prize Congress got it wrong on unjustified corporate tax loopholes MORE (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a key supporter of repeal, said that he would hold hearings immediately after the Pentagon releases a report on the implications of repealing the ban. That report is due Dec. 1.

The report and hearings could breathe some life into the efforts to repeal the ban, but much depends on how long Congress will be in session in December and whether there will be enough time to iron out differences on the bill with the House. Also, Republican opposition to including repeal in the defense bill is also not likely to ease up over the next few weeks.

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