Washington (CNN) – Speaker Nancy Pelosi predicts she has the votes in the House for repeal of the current "don't ask, don't tell" law barring gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
"I think the votes are there for that," Pelosi told reporters Thursday at her weekly press conference.
The Speaker pointed out that the compromise worked out with the White House makes the repeal contingent upon the completion of a Pentagon review that is scheduled to be finished by December.
"This amendment today is respectful of that. It doesn't repeal 'don't ask, don't tell', it defers to when that report comes forth."
Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy, an Iraq war veteran, has proposed an amendment to the defense policy bill that includes the compromise language negotiated with the Senate, the White House, and the Pentagon. The House is expected to vote on it, and the larger defense bill, late Thursday or Friday.
Most Republicans are opposed to the amendment.
"The 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy is not about equal rights; it's about the impact on the readiness, cohesiveness and effectiveness of the U.S. military," said Rep. Trent Franks (R-Arizona). "If the Murphy amendment passes, it could have a profoundly negative effect on all of those things. I believe it could translate to life and death implication on the battlefield."
The Senate Armed Services is expected to pass the repeal Thursday, based on a CNN review of where the votes are in committee.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that 78 percent of the public supports allowing openly gay people to serve in the military, with one in five opposed.