A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is looking to codify the ability of transgender troops to serve openly with a proposed amendment to the annual defense policy bill.
The amendment would make the open-service policy crafted by the Obama administration law unless Congress acts to change it, effectively blocking the Trump administration from enacting its ban on transgender service members.
The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was offered by Democratic Reps. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierWar of words escalates in House GOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips Texas Democrat Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson announces retirement at end of term MORE (Calif.), A. Donald McEachinAston (Donale) Donald McEachinA holistic approach to climate equity Nearly 200 House Democrats call for focus on clean energy tax credits in reconciliation End the practice of hitting children in public schools MORE (Va.) and Susan DavisSusan Carol DavisOvernight Defense: Congress recommends nuclear arms treaty be extended | Dems warn Turkey | Military's eighth COVID death identified Bipartisan congressional task force recommends extending nuclear treaty with Russia The Hill's Campaign Report: Minneapolis protests rock the nation MORE (Calif.) and moderate Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenOne bipartisan remedy to the wave of anti-LGBTQ legislative attacks? passing the Equality Act High-speed rail getting last minute push in Congress Bottom line MORE (Fla.), whose son is transgender.
The House Rules Committee is set to meet Monday and Tuesday to determine which amendments will get a floor vote, with the House expected to take up the NDAA later in the week.
In March, Trump signed a memo banning most transgender people from serving in the military “except under certain limited circumstances.” The memo gave Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman Mattis The US can't go back to business as usual with Pakistan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate nears surprise deal on short-term debt ceiling hike Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon chiefs to Congress: Don't default MORE and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenUS to restart 'Remain in Mexico' program following court order Far-left bullies resort to harassing, shaming Kyrsten Sinema — it won't work Ex-Trump official: 'No. 1 national security threat I've ever seen' is GOP MORE, who oversees the Coast Guard, “authority to implement any appropriate policies concerning military service by transgender individuals.”
No new policy can go into effect immediately, as courts have issued preliminary injunctions in four separate lawsuits that require the Pentagon to continue allowing open service while the cases work their way through the court system.
Trump’s memo was issued in conjunction with the release of a report on Mattis’s recommendations on how to handle transgender troops. The recommendations say that anyone diagnosed with gender dysphoria should be banned except under certain circumstances, including if they have not had gender dysphoria for 36 months or if they have been diagnosed after entering service but do not need to transition gender.
Transgender troops and their advocates say such a policy would effectively create a new “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” for transgender service.
Last year’s House debate on the NDAA included a vote on an amendment that would have banned the Pentagon from providing transition-related medical care to transgender troops.
The amendment was rejected on a largely party-line vote. Two weeks later, Trump first tweeted his intention to ban transgender troops from serving.