GOP: Congress should study the draft before adding women

GOP: Congress should study the draft before adding women
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Congress needs to study whether the military draft is still needed before it requires women to register, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Thursday.

"We need to study whether we need Selective Service at all before we start to decide who is included," Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) told reporters.

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His remarks come after the passage of a defense policy bill on Thursday that almost required women to register for the draft. The bill now simply calls for a study on whether the draft is needed. 

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) last month proposed an amendment calling for women to sign up for the draft during the bill's markup in the House Armed Services Committee in order to prompt a discussion on the issue after the Pentagon dropped its ban on women serving in direct combat roles.

Although Hunter voted against his own amendment, it squeaked by with the support of some Republicans and Democrats. The Senate version of the bill, which is expected to hit the Senate floor, also includes a provision requiring women to sign up.

However, the language from the House bill was struck by the Rules Committee on Monday before the House began debate on the bill, angering some Democrats who said the decision came in the "dead of night."

"This is a dead-of-night attempt to take an important issue off the table, and I think people will probably see through this tactic," House Armed Services Committee ranking member Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithCongress, cut the continuing resolutions so Defense can do its job Week ahead: Lawmakers look to break deadlock on defense funding Pentagon eyeing West Coast missile defense sites: report MORE (D-Wash.) said Tuesday.

Thornberry defended the Rules Committee's move as "reasonable."

"The big issue is we ought to study whether we need Selective Service or not and then we'll deal with the other questions later," he said. 

As for the bill's differences with the Senate's on this matter, Thornberry said, "We'll work through them."