The Republican-led House narrowly rejected a measure on Thursday that sought to strike an Obama-era practice of requiring the Pentagon to pay for gender transition surgeries and hormone therapy.
Democrats described the proposal as bigoted, unconstitutional and cowardly and they won support from 24 GOP lawmakers to scuttle the amendment to the annual defense policy bill, 214-209.
The amendment crafted by Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., would have forbid money from being spent by the military’s health care system for medical treatment related to gender transition. Hartzler portrayed her proposal as a good government plan aimed at assuring military dollars are spent only on critical national defense needs.
But House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called the amendment an attack on the health and dignity of thousands of U.S. service members, and Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said Hartzler intended to “politically denigrate” transgender troops.
“Let us not sink to that level,” Hoyer said.
Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of California said people should decide what sex they are before signing up.
“Figure out whether you’re man or a woman before you join,” Hunter said. “U.S. taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill.”
The close vote nonetheless underscored the zeal with which a number of Republicans are seizing opportunities to reverse what they cast as President Barack Obama’s social engineering of the armed forces. Transgender service members have been able to serve openly in the military since last year, when former Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban. Read more via Washington Post