Benanator Bemoans Scuttled Defense Bill


Nebraskan decries “Washington gamesmanship” that sunk authorization and DADT repeal in Thursday statement.


December 9, 2010 – Today, Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson voted for moving to Senate debate on the Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 that would set policies for the U.S. military, support vital Nebraska projects and change the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. A filibuster by a group of senators blocked debate on the bill.

“Unfortunately, Washington gamesmanship prompted a vote today against funding for the troops at a time of war and as America faces difficult national security challenges around the world,” said Senator Nelson, chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. “The delay also jeopardizes the continuation of benchmarks measuring progress of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan.”

“In addition, obstruction put off giving children of military service members and retirees a key benefit of the new health care law: the ability to stay on their family’s insurance until age 26,” Nelson said.

“Finally, obstruction stopped changes to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that the vast majority of service members say can be repealed without endangering our military. It’s time we change this policy because it values, even requires, lying and deceit throughout the ranks.

“The issue is not whether to allow gay people to serve in the military, but whether we ask them to lie. Asking them to lie undermines the core values of our military—honesty, integrity and trust. When those values are undermined anywhere, they are undermined everywhere,” Senator Nelson said.

At a December 2nd, Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Nelson asked Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whether the policy undermined the military’s core principles.

“I think it does fundamentally undermine who we are, because we’re an institution that is so significantly founded and based on integrity,” Mullen responded.

Nelson then put the same question to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who responded, “Yes, sir, it does.”

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Related Topics: Democratic Party, Senate

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