House passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban

House passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban
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The House voted Tuesday night to block the Pentagon from using funding to implement its ban on most transgender troops.

The 243-183 vote came as an amendment to a $1 trillion spending package that includes the fiscal 2020 defense spending bill.

“The president and his administration wrongfully argue that it’s about military readiness and unit cohesion, but these arguments were the same ones that were used to keep the military racially segregated,” Rep. Anthony BrownAnthony Gregory BrownPelosi seeks to put pressure on GOP in COVID-19 relief battle Democrats demand Esper explicitly ban Confederate flag and allow Pride, Native Nations flags Trump tweets key GOP lawmaker has committed to not changing Confederate base names MORE (D-Md.) said on the House floor. “Transgender service members increase lethality, readiness. They have served honorably and received prestigious commendations.”

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Nine Republicans voted in support of the measure: Reps. Justin AmashJustin AmashOn The Trail: How Nancy Pelosi could improbably become president History is on Edward Snowden's side: Now it's time to give him a full pardon Trump says he's considering Snowden pardon MORE (Mich.), Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-Balart'Trump show' convention sparks little interest on K Street Rep. Dan Meuser tests positive for COVID-19 Watchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 MORE (Fla.), Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerHouse Democrats' campaign arm reserves .6M in ads in competitive districts The Hill's Convention Report: Trump to attack Biden at final night of convention | Speech comes amid hurricane, racial justice protests | Biden accuses Trump of 'rooting' for violence Republicans cast Trump as best choice for women MORE (Minn.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickFlorida Democrat introduces bill to recognize Puerto Rico statehood referendum DCCC reserves new ad buys in competitive districts, adds new members to 'Red to Blue' program 2020 Global Tiger Day comes with good news, but Congress still has work to do MORE (Pa.), Anthony GonzalezAnthony GonzalezHillicon Valley: DOJ indicts Chinese, Malaysian hackers accused of targeting over 100 organizations | GOP senators raise concerns over Oracle-TikTok deal | QAnon awareness jumps in new poll House passes legislation to boost election security research Ex-NFL receiver Rep. Anthony Gonzalez: Big Ten skipping football season could be 'catastrophic' for athletes MORE (Ohio), Trey HollingsworthJoseph (Trey) Albert HollingsworthHillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump campaign tweet of Biden clip as manipulated media | Democrats demand in-person election security briefings resume | Proposed rules to protect power grid raise concerns Lawmakers call for bipartisan push to support scientific research The Hill's 12:30 Report: Presidential race tightens in key states MORE (Ind.), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHillicon Valley: Oracle confirms deal with TikTok to be 'trusted technology provider' | QAnon spreads across globe, shadowing COVID-19 | VA hit by data breach impacting 46,000 veterans House approves bill to secure internet-connected federal devices against cyber threats House Democrats' campaign arm reserves .6M in ads in competitive districts MORE (Texas), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoThis week: House returns for pre-election sprint Hillicon Valley: Simulated cyberattack success | New bill for election security funding | Amazon could be liable for defective products Lawmakers introduce bill to help election officials address cyber vulnerabilities MORE (N.Y.) and Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedCentrist House group offers bipartisan COVID-19 relief deal House approves two child care bills aimed at pandemic Diabetes Caucus co-chairs say telehealth expansion to continue beyond pandemic MORE (Ill.).

One Democrat, Rep. Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonThe Hill's Campaign Report: 19 years since 9/11 | Dem rival to Marjorie Taylor Greene drops out | Collin Peterson faces fight of his career | Court delivers blow to ex-felon voting rights in Florida Peterson faces fight of his career in deep-red Minnesota district Democrats for Life urge DNC to change party platform on abortion MORE (Minn.), voted against the amendment.

The House previously voted in March to condemn the Trump administration’s transgender troops policy. At that time, five Republicans joined all Democrats in supporting the measure.

The Pentagon’s policy, which took effect in April, bans most transgender people from serving in the military unless they serve in their biological sex or were grandfathered in under the 2016 open-service policy.

The Trump administration and its allies deny the policy is a ban because of the carve-outs.

“This amendment risks undermining the readiness of our military at a time when we can least afford it,” Rep. Ken CalvertKenneth (Ken) Stanton CalvertMORE (R-Calif.) said on the floor. “This current policy is not, I repeat, not a ban on service by transgender individuals. It carefully balances the readiness needs of the military with the medical needs of transgender individuals who wish to serve.”

Opponents argue the policy effectively is a ban akin to the defunct “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that banned gay, lesbian and bisexual troops from serving openly.

Four lawsuits against the policy are still pending.

The March resolution against the policy was nonbinding, whereas Tuesday’s amendment would have an effect if it were to become law.

But the amendment is unlikely to become law. Still, LGBT advocates were tracking the House vote as sending a message.

"Military leaders don’t want this ban and the American people don’t want this ban -- including a growing percentage of the president’s own party," Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said in a statement Wednesday. "We won’t stop fighting in the courts to end the ban for good, and we applaud members of Congress for continuing to fight for our transgender service members as well.”

House Democrats are also expected to bring a transgender troops amendment to the floor when they debate the annual defense policy bill in the coming weeks.

Updated at 9:24 a.m. Wednesday