GOP lawmaker seeks to ban Pentagon funding for gender transition

GOP lawmaker seeks to ban Pentagon funding for gender transition
© Greg Nash

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) has introduced an amendment to the annual defense policy bill that would prohibit Pentagon funding for gender transition-related medical treatment.

The amendment comes after she introduced a much more wide-reaching one in the Armed Services Committee to reverse the Pentagon’s transgender policy.

An email to a Hartzler spokesman seeking comment was not immediately returned Friday afternoon.

Transgender troops already in the military have been able to serve openly since last year. The policy also allows them to receive any treatment deemed medically necessary, including surgery.

Meanwhile, transgender people interested in joining the military have not been able to enlist. That was supposed to change last week, but Defense Secretary James Mattis delayed the end of the ban for six months following a request from the service chiefs.

During last week’s House Armed Services Committee markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Hartzler introduced an amendment that would rescind the entire transgender policy and direct the Defense secretary to honorably discharge transgender troops.

Hartzler withdrew the amendment, but vowed to bring it back when the bill comes to the House floor if the Pentagon does not act on its own.

The new amendment, filed Friday in advanced of the NDAA coming to the House floor, would make it so that “funds available to the Department of Defense may not be used to provide medical treatment (other than mental health treatment) related to gender transition to a person entitled to medical care.”

During last week’s markup, Hartzler claimed the cost of surgeries alone could reach to $1.35 billion over the next 10 years.

It’s unclear where Hartzler’s figure originates. In an interview with USA Today, she suggested she and her staff did their own research on the issue.

The RAND Corporation estimated medical costs for transgender service members would be between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually.

The amendment must make it past the Rules Committee before coming to a vote on the House floor. The Rules Committee will consider NDAA amendments on Wednesday.