Politics

Lisa Murkowski to vote for ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski released a statement Wednesday saying that she will support a repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy restricting gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

“I have concluded that it is time to repeal the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law,” Murkowski said in a statement. “I agree with Defense Secretary Gates’ view that the military can successfully implement a repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law provided that proper preparations are implemented.”

Her decision, however, did not come without caveats. Murkowski’s support of the measure “will depend on whether the majority allows for an open and fair amendment process,” which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said will be granted by allowing for 15 amendments, including time to debate them.

Murkowski, a known wild card in the Senate, told reporters earlier on Wednesday that she still had not made up her mind as to whether she would support a defense spending measure that includes a repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” provision that Reid has said could come to a vote as early as this week.

That’s a far cry from most Republicans who, when asked if they will support any bills other than a measure to fund the government or to extend the Bush-era tax rates, merely refer reporters to the letter all 42 caucus members signed last week promising to withhold support for anything until those two items of business are completed. Congress has not yet resolved either of those issues.

Republicans blocked a defense spending bill in September that included the “don’t ask, don’t tell” provision and a measure that would offer a path to citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants.

To pass the bill this week, Democrats will need a handful of Republicans to reach the 60 votes needed for cloture. Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins also said she would support the measure, but only if the Senate resolved negotiations on how to extend the Bush-era tax rates first.

This article has been updated.

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