House panel strips language requiring women to register for draft

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The House Rules Committee is moving to strip language from a defense bill that would require women to register for the draft.

The panel on Monday approved a rule that strikes the language. The rule adds an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that kills language requiring women to register for the draft. 

{mosads}The full House would not vote on the amendment, offered by Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas).

“I did choose to do this, but it was in essence to save us what I believe is good policy notwithstanding how someone may rate that,” Sessions said.

Sessions said he would be open to studying whether draft registration is needed at all.

“I believe the Selective Service has been a very useful tool to enable our country and the military to be prepared,” Sessions said. “I believe the testimony today supported an understanding that we don’t even need a draft.”

Congress has been divided over whether to require women to register for the draft, an issue that splits both parties. Other lawmakers have called for doing away with the draft registration altogether. 

Studying the future of the draft is the tactic preferred by Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

The NDAA originally had language requiring the study, and Thornberry has offered a separate amendment restoring that language. Thornberry’s amendment is among the tranche being considered by the Rules Committee on Tuesday.

Democrats slammed the Rules Committee’s move Tuesday morning.

“The Rules Committee chairman is so concerned about a vote on women’s equality in the military that he has created a provision ‘considered as adopted’ that overturns a measure voted on by the Armed Services Committee, ignores the mandatory scoring requirement, and passes itself, avoiding a separate vote by the full House,” Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a written statement.

“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.”

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