Lawmakers offer House bill to block transgender troop ban

Lawmakers offer House bill to block transgender troop ban
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A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation Friday to protect transgender people from being pulled from military service. 

The proposal from Reps. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Charlie DentCharles (Charlie) Wieder DentCNN celebrates correspondents' weekend with New Orleans-themed brunch The Hill's Morning Report - Government is funded, but for how long? Ex-GOP lawmaker says his party is having a 'Monty Python' moment on shutdown MORE (R-Pa.), Susan DavisSusan Carol DavisSinema, Gallagher fastest lawmakers in charity race Republican's campaign accused of racism for referring to Palestinian opponent as a 'national security threat' Overnight Defense: Gillibrand offers bill to let transgender troops serve | Pentagon ready to protect US personnel in Venezuela | Dems revive fight with Trump over Saudis MORE (D-Calif.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithTrump officials say US efforts to deter Iran have worked Let's talk about education and school choice in 2020 Overnight Defense: Lawmakers on edge over Iran tensions | Questions rise after State pulls personnel from Iraq | Senators demand briefing | House panel advances 0B Pentagon spending bill | Warren offers plan on climate threats to military MORE (D-Wash.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) prevents the Department of Defense from removing currently serving members of the Armed Forces based solely on their gender identity.

President Trump in July announced in a series of tweets that he was reinstating a ban on transgender people serving in the military, claiming the Pentagon could not be “burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption” brought by their service. 

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In August, he signed a memo instructing the Department of Defense to begin implementing the ban.

“Kicking out members of the United States Armed Services solely based on their gender identity is hateful, discriminatory, and on the wrong side of history,” Speier said in a statement.

“News flash, Mr. President — thousands of transgender troops already serve our country with pride and dignity. Our military should be focused on recruiting and retaining the best troops, not on rejecting qualified service members on the basis of discrimination.” 

The House bill is a companion to legislation offered in the Senate last month by Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandGOP faces new challenge in 2020 abortion fight 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights MORE (D-N.Y.), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainPelosi receives John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award Romney: Trump 'has distanced himself from some of the best qualities of the human character' MSNBC host: Barr 'the most dangerous person' who works for Trump MORE (R-Ariz.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedTrump, Europe increasingly at odds on Iran Let's stop treating student borrowers like second-class citizens HUD chief Carson broke law with unauthorized purchases, GAO says MORE (D-R.I.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCollins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights Women's civil rights are not a state issue MORE (R-Maine).

Last month, Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisPentagon reporters left in dark as Iran tensions escalate Trump officials slow-walk president's order to cut off Central American aid: report Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Trump nominates Shanahan as Pentagon chief | House panel advances bill to block military funds for border wall | Trump defends Bolton despite differences MORE released an interim guidance that implements the ban on new recruits but allows transgender service members to continue serving in the military and receive medical care while the department determines how to enforce Trump’s order. The guidance, however, says no new sex reassignment surgeries will be allowed after March 22.

Under the House bill, Mattis would be required to complete his review accepting transgender individuals into the armed forces by the end of this year and report the results to Congress. 

Ros-Lehtinen called the ban a “sad reminder of the dark chapters in our nation's history that should never be repeated.” 

“Any patriot, as long as they are qualified to serve, should have the ability to, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” she said. “These individuals are willing to sacrifice their lives for our freedom, a freedom that they should also be able to enjoy."