Pair of senators submit amendment to delay Trump transgender ban

Greg Nash

A pair of senators wants to use a mammoth defense policy bill to delay President Trump’s controversial decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would delay any action until 60 days after Defense Secretary James Mattis finalizes his review on the decision and submits a report to Congress.

The amendment, if it ends up in the final version of the bill, could delay Trump’s ban until the spring of 2018. 

Mattis is already delaying the new enlistment rules for six months as he reviews the Pentagon’s transgender policy. 

{mosads}He has until Feb. 21 to turn over a plan to the White House on how to implement Trump’s directive, including how to address transgender individuals that are currently serving in the military. 

There’s no guarantee that the Gillibrand-Collins proposal will get a vote. More than 300 amendments have been submitted to the Senate NDAA. The annual bill’s status as must-pass legislation makes it a lightning rod for lawmakers hoping to change an administration’s defense and foreign policy.

But Trump’s decision sparked a backlash from both Democrats and Republicans.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said earlier this year that forcing transgender individuals out of the military was “a step in the wrong direction.”

“The Pentagon’s ongoing study on this issue should be completed before any decisions are made with regard to accession. The Senate Armed Services Committee will continue to conduct oversight on this important issue,” he said in a statement.

The Senate is scheduled to take its first vote tied to the NDAA on Monday evening, when lawmakers will move toward starting debate.

Tags James Mattis John McCain Kirsten Gillibrand Susan Collins
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