Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will follow Sen. John McCain’s lead on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, he said this weekend on “Meet The Press.”
McCain, the ranking member on the Armed Services Committee, spent much of last week’s repeal hearings railing against a Pentagon report that the policy can be repealed with minimal damage.
McCain has vowed to block the bill from coming to the floor until more hearings are held.
“My personal view is that Sen. McCain is correct on this and I intend to follow his lead,” McConnell said. “We’ll find out when we finally get around to debating this bill which I think will not be before the end of the year.”
The comment is an important tell in the DADT debate. Over the past year McCain, who used to say he would favor repeal if top military brass favored repeal, has become the Senate’s most vocal proponent of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. But it’s been unclear whether his new hard-line stance would be the official Republican position.
McConnell also said on “Meet The Press” that he doubts the Senate will even get to the massive defense spending bill which DADT repeal is attached to.
“People are talking like that’s the only issue,” he said. “Once you get on a defense bill it typically takes two weeks. I don’t see how we can possibly finish the defense authorization bill, a two-week bill — wholly aside from these controversial items that are in it, there are a whole lot of other things in it — before the end of the year.”