The House on Thursday approved an amendment to the annual defense policy bill aimed at reversing President Trump’s policy banning most transgender people from serving in the military.
The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would enshrine in law that any person who meets gender-neutral occupational standards can serve in the military regardless of race, color, national origin, religion or sex, including gender identity or sexual orientation.
“Over the last three years, 14,000 transgender service members have served openly and successfully,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), the sponsor of the amendment. “All five service chiefs affirmed they do not hamper lethality or cohesion. Malice and ignorance cannot stop us giving medical care to those brave enough to serve. We know what transgender service members bring to the fight; let them bring it.”
The amendment passed 242-187, largely along party lines. Ten Republicans voted with all Democrats in support of the bill: Republican Reps. Susan Brooks (Ind.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Trey Hollingsworth (Ind.), Will Hurd (Texas), John Katko (N.Y.), Tom Reed (N.Y.), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Steve Stivers (Ohio), Fred Upton (Mich.) and Greg Walden (Ore.).
The measure is one of several amendments Democrats have been touting to progressives as they seek to wrangle the votes to pass the NDAA without Republican support.
Progressives are concerned about the bill’s $733 billion price tag, but have indicated they could support the bill if certain amendments pass, particularly ones that would constrain Trump’s war powers. Votes on those amendments are expected later Thursday and Friday. Read more via the Hill