Ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"; Medicare Benefits in the New Health Reform Law; Honoring Our Military Families

May 28, 2010
Pelosi Update

Ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
Last night, the House passed a landmark amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that calls for a repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. It acknowledges the tens of thousands of lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members who serve honorably in our military, and finally allows them to do so openly and without fear of prejudice or persecution. The amendment, passed by a vote of 234 to 194, will ensure that our military is fully prepared for threats and challenges worldwide, and that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will be a memory by the end of the year.

Milk.jpgCongresswoman Pelosi joins Stuart Milk, nephew of Harvey Milk, to celebrate the eve of the first annual Harvey Milk Day at the LGBT Community Center in San Francisco.

I am inspired by the remarks of Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said: “Allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military is the right thing to do. We have in place a policy that forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. For me personally, it comes down to integrity; theirs as an individual, ours as an institution.”

Since the enactment of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 1993, more than 13,000 servicemen and women have been discharged from the armed services on the basis of their public sexual orientation, including hundreds of military personnel with “mission critical” skills. This legislation respects the Department of Defense’s current review of the policy, and will repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” after the report is finalized.

New Medicare Benefits in the Health Reform Law
This week, the Department of Health and Human Services mailed a brochure to seniors: “Medicare and the New Health Care Law, What it Means for You.” This four-page brochure outlines the new benefits in health reform for Medicare recipients.

Under the new law, seniors who fall into the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole” coverage gap this year will receive a $250 rebate check. On Thursday, the Obama Administration announced that the first batch of rebate checks will be distributed on June 10th — ahead of the June 15th deadline set in the new law. The Administration has announced that it expects to send rebate checks to additional seniors who fall into the donut hole every month or so throughout the rest of the year.

Honoring Our Military Families on Memorial Day
On Memorial Day, we have the opportunity to honor those who have dedicated their lives to defending our nation and protecting the American people. Currently, more than 20,200 troops from California are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Memorial Day is a time to remember their service and sacrifices and renew our commitment to keep our promises to our nation’s troops, their families, and veterans.

Beginning Memorial Day, May 31st, Blue Star Museums is partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts and more than 650 museums nationwide to offer free admission to active duty military personnel and their families through Labor Day, September 6th, 2010.

The following Bay Area museums are participating:

* Asian Art Museum
* Bay Area Discovery Museum
* Haggin Museum
* Lindsay Wildlife Museum
* Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology
* San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design
* San Jose Museum of Art
* Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum
* Walt Disney Family Museum

Please feel free to forward this information to your family and friends. To learn more about these efforts, to express your views, or to sign up for email updates, please visit my Web site.

Please feel free to forward this information to your family and friends. To learn more about these efforts, to express your views, or to sign up for email updates, please visit my website. I am also on Twitter at http://twitter.com/NancyPelosi.


Member of Congress