A top, outgoing Republican said Tuesday that Congress should punt on "Don't ask, don't tell" until next year.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (Mich.), the top Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee, said that lawmakers shouldn't push forward with legislation repealing the military's prohibition on gay and lesbian service members until they have a chance to study the Defense Department's new study on the matter.

"I think it's going to take a period of time," Hoekstra said during an appearance on MSNBC. "This is something that should move over to the next Congress."

The Pentagon is releasing its report this afternoon, which is expected to show few objections from within the military to dropping the ban on openly gay or lesbian members of the armed forces.

Republicans have blocked efforts to move forward with legislation to do away with the ban, reasoning that the military must first issue its report.

But top GOP figures have started to suggest elsewhere that it would be inappropriate to tackle such an issue during the lame-duck session.

"I would point out that the election was about tax cuts, the economy and jobs," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on ABC. "It wasn't about the DREAM Act, 'Don't ask, don't tell.' "

If a vote on the policy were delayed until the next Congress, legislation to repeal it could face significantly tougher obstacles to passage, particularly in the House, where Republicans will have control.

President Obama said it's his preference that Congress pursue legislation to do away with "Don't ask, don't tell," rather than issuing an order to enact a change.