Defense Authorization blocked in Senate

The National Defense Authorization Act, including repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, has been defeated in the Senate, 57-40.

Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked the legislation, which would have lifted the military’s 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops. The measure was tucked into a broader defense policy bill and had passed the House last spring.

The proposed act includes billions of dollars in spending, The Washington Post’s Federal Eye reports.

  • A secondary engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
  • $11.6 billion dollars to train the Afghan army and Afghan police.
  • Transfer of military equipment from Iraq to Afghanistan.

Smaller items could be critical to troops, including:

  • More funding for the Defense Department to hire mental health providers.
  • Money to screen every service member for the effects of traumatic brain injury.
  • The bill also would provide more funding and guidance for a seamless transfer of service member’s medical records.

It failed in a 57-40 test vote, falling three votes short of the 60 needed to advance. GOP senators mostly united in defeating the measure on procedural grounds, insisting that the Senate vote on tax cuts first.

The Washington Post has reported that if the procedural vote in the Senate failed, a defense bill probably won’t be approved this year.

Officials with a veterans support group told the Federal Eye that if the measure fails, it would be the first time in 48 years that an authorization bill has not passed Congress.

Click here for more on the act and DADT.

(Combined by internet editor Suzanne Kubota from material by the Associated Press and’s Jolie Lee.)

(Copyright 2010 by All Rights Reserved.)