Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell predicts the clock has run out on repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the 17-year-old law that bans gay and bisexual troops from serving openly.

The senior senator from Kentucky made his comments Sunday during an appearance on NBC's Meet The Press.

McConnell told host David Gregory that the defense bill also includes other controversial items, including questions about abortions in military hospitals.

“I don't see how we can possibly finish the defense authorization bill, a two-week bill, wholly aside from these controversial items that are in it … before the end of the year,” he said.

McConnell noted Arizona Senator John McCain's earlier prediction that the GOP would unite to block repeal of the policy when asked about the measure's chances in the Senate.

“My personal view is that Senator [John] McCain is correct on this,” he said. “I intend to follow his lead. We'll find out when we finally get around to debating this bill, which I think will not be before the end of this year.”