House bucks Trump’s transgender troop policy in defense spending vote

· July 11, 2019  
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President Trump speaks in front of sailors
Mark Wilson | Getty Images

A 242-187 majority of the House of Representatives voted Thurdsay to override the Trump adminsitration’s policy on transgender troops serving in the U.S. military.

The vote itself was on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act — Congress’ big, annual military authorization bill.

A report on the bill and its amendments from the House Armed Services Committee explains that the amendment “requires that qualifications for eligibility to serve in an armed force account only for the ability of an individual to meet gender-neutral occupational standards and not include any criteria relating to the race, color, national origin, religion, or sex (including gender identity or sexual orientation) of an individual.”

The measure initially passed by a voice vote the day before, but Democrats requested a roll call, wanting to go on record against the president’s transgender policy.

“Over the last three years, 14,000 transgender service members have served openly and successfully,” amendment sponsor Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said on the House floor Wednesday. “We know what transgender service members bring to the fight; let them bring it.”

Ten Republicans joined with Democrats in support of the amendment.

President Trump announced an end to transgender military service two years ago in June 2017, tweeting, “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

After studying the issue, the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security determined that “the accession or retention of individuals with a history of diagnosis of gender dysphoria – those who may require substantial medical treatment, including through medical drugs or surgery – presents considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality.”

The Supreme Court ruled in January that the policy could go into effect as lawsuits work their way through lower courts on the issue. The policy went into effect earlier this year, though some state National Guards are openly defying the new policy.

The Senate passed its version of the NDAA last month with no such transgender language. The differences between the bills will have to be resolved before it can go to the president’s desk.


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Author: Nate Madden

Nate Madden is BlazeTV’s congressional correspondent. Follow him @NateOnTheHill or send tips to nmadden@blazemedia.com.