GOP senators move to keep women out of military draft
© Getty Images

A group of Senate Republicans wants to remove a controversial provision from the Senate's annual defense policy bill that would require women to register for the draft.

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenators to Trump: Let Mueller finish Russia probe The Hill's Morning Report: Can Trump’s VA pick make it through the week? Mike Lee pens op-ed calling legislation to protect Mueller 'unconstitutional' MORE (R-Utah) has filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would remove the provision and block any court, including the Supreme Court, from hearing cases about who must register with the Selective Service System. 

ADVERTISEMENT
The debate over requiring women to take part has split Congressional Republicans, and opponents argue that Congress needs to spend more time studying the issue. 

Lee’s amendment would add a section into the defense bill expressing the "sense of Congress that the decision of the secretary of Defense to open all military occupational specialties to women raises important legal, political and social questions about who should be required to register for the military selective service." 

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced in December that the Pentagon would open all combat roles to women.

The amendment would also give only Congress authority to change the Selective Service Act and require the Pentagon prepare a report for Congress July 1, 2017, about whether the selective service is still needed and if registration should be required regardless of gender. 

The amendment is backed by GOP Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz urges UK to allow British toddler's parents to transfer him for treatment Maxine Waters to Trump: ‘Please resign’ Cruz challenger says ‘no thanks’ to funding from Steyer MORE (Texas), James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeConservatives eye new tax cut for capital gains Dems give muted praise to Pompeo-Kim meeting Overnight Energy: Former Pruitt aide alleges more wasteful spending, retaliation | Senate confirms EPA No. 2 | Zinke backs off big park fee increases MORE (Okla.), Mike Rounds (S.D.), Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerLet's hold Facebook to the same standards as other players in the industry Cindy Hyde-Smith sworn in as Mississippi's latest senator Miss. Dem touts campaign poll saying he leads GOP candidates in Senate race MORE (Miss.). 

Though a Senate floor fight over the provision is expected, Lee faces an uphill battle. A push to remove it during the Senate Armed Services Committee markup failed in a 7-19 vote. 

Meanwhile, Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPompeo set to be confirmed on Thursday GOP anxiety grows over Trump’s Iran decision Overnight Defense: VA nominee on the ropes | White House signals it will fight for pick | Trump talks Syria with Macron | McConnell tees up Pompeo vote MORE (R-Ky.) has introduced an amendment to the NDAA to get rid of the draft entirely.  

If the current provision is left in the Senate bill, supporters will still face a fight with the House. 

The House Armed Services Committee initially approved an amendment expanding the draft, with 26 Democrats and six Republicans on the committee supporting the proposal. 

But the Rules Committee moved to strip the language, and the House formally removed the proposal as part of a larger procedural vote. 

The draft, which ended in 1973, has been in the spotlight since the Pentagon began opening more roles to female soldiers. 

A Rasmussen Reports poll released earlier this year found that 49 percent of all likely U.S. voters think women should be required to register for the draft, compared to 44 percent who disagree.