Gates speeds up delivery of 'Don't ask, don't tell' report

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is instructing his staff to accelerate by one day the public release of a yearlong study into the implications of repealing the ban on openly gay people serving in the military.

That study, initially due Dec. 1, will now be ready for release Nov. 30 to allow the congressional defense committees to hold hearings on the report as soon as possible.

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Supporters of repealing the Clinton-era law, known as "Don't ask, don't tell," are eying the weeks after Thanksgiving recess as the last opportunity to see the ban scrapped. Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidWarren builds her brand with 2020 down the road 'Tuesday Group' turncoats must use recess to regroup on ObamaCare Dem senator says his party will restore 60-vote Supreme Court filibuster MORE (D-Nev.) has committed to bringing up the 2011 defense authorization bill, which contains a repeal provision, for a vote in December. The House already approved its version of the massive defense policy bill, which contains a repeal provision.

Sen. Carl LevinCarl LevinFor the sake of American taxpayers, companies must pay their fair share What the Iran-Contra investigation can teach us about Russia probe Senate about to enter 'nuclear option' death spiral MORE (D-Mich.), who leads the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he first wants to hold hearings on the Pentagon's yearlong study.

Gates now has compressed an already "aggressive" timeline for the report delivery in order "to support Congress's wish to consider repeal before they adjourn," Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said Sunday in a statement.

"Now, the Secretary has instructed his staff, without cutting any corners, to have everything ready a day sooner because he wants to ensure members of the Armed Services Committee are able to read and consider the complex, lengthy report before holding hearings with its authors and the Joint Chiefs of Staff," Morrell said.

Reid and Levin still have to overcome some procedural hurdles to bring the defense bill for Senate debate. Sen. John McCainJohn McCainTrump wall faces skepticism on border No Congress members along Mexico border support funding Trump's wall Treasury won’t grant Exxon drilling waiver for Russia MORE (R-Ariz.) opposes the repeal provision and has threatened to filibuster the bill. Supporters of repeal need 60 votes to overcome any hurdles and have to clinch the support of a couple of Republicans and some Democrats who are still on the fence on the issue.