The House of Representatives passed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal as an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act. Lawmakers also defied the threat of a presidential veto by voting to fund a second engine for the controversial F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, explains Politico.
"The defense authorization bill typically passes with wide margins, but last year was an exception, as many Republicans voted against the bill because it included a hate-crimes provision. The inclusion of don’t ask don’t tell could set up a similar dynamic this year. And because the House defied President Obama's veto threat to hang onto funding for two Joint Strike Fighter engines, the situation is even stickier. With the engine money and don't ask don't tell, Obama is situated between a promise he's made to his most powerful Cabinet member and his liberal base of support on a landmark civil rights issue.
"The Pentagon is aggressively pushing for a veto. 'We don't want nor need the extra engine, but this is just one step in a long journey and Secretary Gates is committed to staying engaged in this process the whole way, including if necessary ultimately recommending President Obama veto this legislation,' said Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell after the vote.
"So too is Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), who supports don’t ask don’t tell repeal but who fought to strip funding for the General Electric engine but who said he was encouraged by a strong vote on the amendment and the fact that the Senate Armed Services Committee did not include funding for the engine in its bill. 'I fully expect the President to follow through with his threatened veto of the Defense Authorization Act if the F-35 Extra Engine Program is in the final legislation,' Larson aid."
The Office of Management and Budget issued the veto threat on Thursday over the F-35, reports The Hill.