Promised fall hearings on repeal of the military's ban on open gay service in Congress are likely tabled for now, reported Saturday.

Both chambers of Congress have likely delayed hearings on the issue.

Senator Carl Levin, a Democrat from Michigan, said in a C-SPAN Newsmaker interview to be broadcast Sunday that the Senate Armed Services Committee, which he chairs, will postpone hearings till sometime next year to concentrate on investigating the Fort Hood shootings.

The policy, also known as “don't ask, don't tell,” is the 1993 law that prohibits gay and lesbian service members from revealing their sexuality at the risk of losing their jobs.

President Obama promised gay activists attending an October fundraiser that he would end the policy.

“I will end 'don't ask, don't tell,'” Obama said. “That is my commitment to you.”

“This time is not being lost,” Levin said referring to the current thinking that lawmakers will not attempt to pass a freestanding bill but are more likely to tuck repeal legislation into next year's military spending bill. That strategy was used earlier this year to approve a bill that added sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of federal hate crimes that includes race, national origin, gender and religion.

Openly gay Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank was the first to mention the strategy, telling gay glossy the Advocate: “Military issues are always done as part of the overall authorization bill. 'Don't ask, don't tell' was always going to be part of the military authorization.”

Legislation to repeal the law was introduced in the House in March by California Representative Ellen Tauscher, who has since been replaced by John Garamendi after she was tapped by President Obama to serve as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs. Since then, Pennsylvania Representative Patrick Murphy, an Iraq war veteran, has championed the bill. An official bill has yet to be introduced in the Senate, but Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman is widely expected to sponsor such a bill.

The House Armed Services Committee considering the House version of the bill has also promised a series of hearings on the issue. But the reported Saturday that the Senate decision to postpone will likely delay action in the committee as well.