Wednesday, December 15, 2010


H.R. 2965 is the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2009, while it began as legislation targeting small business investment in research and innovation it has become the vehicle for repealing the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.

H.R. 2965 was introduced by Pennsylvania's Democratic Representative Jason Altmire on June 19, 2009. The bill was reported out of the House Committee on Small Business and the Committee on Science and Technology. A related bill in the Senate is S. 1233, introduced by Louisiana's Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu.

H.R. 2965 passed in the House on roll call vote 486 on July 8, 2009. The margin was 386 in favor to 41 against. On July 13, 2009 it passed the Senate in lieu of S. 1233 with an amendment. Action in the Senate was on July 13, 2009 by Unanimous Consent.

The Senate Amendment struck all the language in the bill following the Enactment Clause and substituted the language of S. 1233 as it had been amended. Senator Reid, the Democratic Majority Leader from Nevada introduced Senate Amendment 1502 for Oklahoma's Republican Senator Tom Coburn and Wisconsin's Democratic Senator Russ Feingold.

The Rules Committee is taking up H.R. 2905 today with an Amendment. This Amendment appears to be in the nature of a substitute. The new Short Title of the legislation is the ‘‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell 5 Repeal Act of 2010’’. To read the complete text of this amendment go to the Rules Committee website at:

The effective date of repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell under this amendment will be the latter date between 60 days after the Secretary of Defense has received the report on COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A REPEAL OF 10 U.S.C. 654, as required under a prior section of the amendment. Note: that report is in and may be accessed online at

The President has issued a statement to the public consistent with the terms of this proposed law. You can read the President's remarks at:

The second triggering event is a communication from the President to the Congressional Committees on Defense certifying that the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered the recommendations of the report and that they can proceed in a manner consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and the recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces.

This legislation does not confer any additional benefits such as recognizing marriage between same sex partners. No private causes of action are authorized by this amendment. That means no one gets a new right to sue anyone else.

The House previously passed similar legislation when it adopted House Amendment 672 to H.R. 5136, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011.  That measure passed the House on May 28, 2010, roll call vote 336, by a margin of 229 in favor and 186 opposed.  That bill is stalled in the Senate.  

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