House approves amendment to reverse transgender military ban

House approves amendment to reverse transgender military ban
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The House on Thursday approved an amendment to the annual defense policy bill aimed at reversing President TrumpDonald John TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy MORE’s policy banning most transgender people from serving in the military.

The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would enshrine in law that any person who meets gender-neutral occupational standards can serve in the military regardless of race, color, national origin, religion or sex, including gender identity or sexual orientation.

“Over the last three years, 14,000 transgender service members have served openly and successfully,” said Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierDemocrats call on House committees to probe Epstein's 2008 'sweetheart deal,' suicide Scaramucci compares Trump to Jonestown cult leader: 'It's like a hostage crisis inside the White House' Epstein death sparks questions for federal government MORE (D-Calif.), the sponsor of the amendment. “All five service chiefs affirmed they do not hamper lethality or cohesion. Malice and ignorance cannot stop us giving medical care to those brave enough to serve. We know what transgender service members bring to the fight; let them bring it.”

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The amendment passed 242-187, largely along party lines. Ten Republicans voted with all Democrats in support of the bill: Republican Reps. Susan BrooksSusan Wiant BrooksPelosi: GOP retirements indicate they'll be in the minority, with Democrat in the White House The Hill's 12:30 Report: House panel approves impeachment powers Pressure rises on Cheney to make decision MORE (Ind.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickHouse Democrats targeting six more Trump districts for 2020 Ensuring quality health care for those with intellectual disabilities and autism House Democrats target 2020 GOP incumbents in new ad MORE (Pa.), Trey HollingsworthJoseph (Trey) Albert HollingsworthOvernight Defense: House votes to block Trump arms sales to Saudis, setting up likely veto | US officially kicks Turkey out of F-35 program | Pentagon sending 2,100 more troops to border House votes to block Trump's Saudi arms sale The 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran MORE (Ind.), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdPelosi: GOP retirements indicate they'll be in the minority, with Democrat in the White House Wave of GOP retirements threatens 2020 comeback Texas Republicans sound alarm about rapidly evolving state MORE (Texas), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoHillicon Valley: Google to promote original reporting | Senators demand answers from Amazon on worker treatment | Lawmakers weigh response to ransomware attacks Lawmakers weigh responses to rash of ransomware attacks Hillicon Valley: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's account hacked | Google found iPhone security bug | YouTube reportedly to pay up to 0M to settle child privacy investigation | DNC expected to nix Iowa virtual caucus plans MORE (N.Y.), Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedLobbying World Gun debate to shape 2020 races Conservatives push Trump tariff relief over payroll tax cuts MORE (N.Y.), Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikBarbra Streisand calls for end to 'antiquated' Electoral College Republican lawmakers ask Trump not to delay Pentagon cloud-computing contract Rising number of GOP lawmakers criticize Trump remarks about minority Dems MORE (N.Y.), Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversBill requiring carbon monoxide detectors in public housing passes House The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Republicans offer support for Steve King challenger MORE (Ohio), Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonRepublicans pour cold water on Trump's term limit idea The Hill's Morning Report - Can Trump save GOP in North Carolina special election? Wave of GOP retirements threatens 2020 comeback MORE (Mich.) and Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenHotel industry mounts attack on Airbnb with House bill Wave of GOP retirements threatens 2020 comeback Push on 'surprise' medical bills hits new roadblocks MORE (Ore.).

The measure is one of several amendments Democrats have been touting to progressives as they seek to wrangle the votes to pass the NDAA without Republican support.

Progressives are concerned about the bill’s $733 billion price tag, but have indicated they could support the bill if certain amendments pass, particularly ones that would constrain Trump’s war powers. Votes on those amendments are expected later Thursday and Friday.

Democratic leaders have expressed confidence they have the votes to pass the NDAA, but members of the Progressive Caucus have said they remain undecided on the legislation pending the outcome of amendment votes.

Several LGBT and military groups and former officials have urged passage of the overall bill because of the Speier amendment.

“Passing a defense bill from the House that includes the values of inclusiveness and diversity is the best way to stand with those impacted by the administration’s policies,” the groups and officials wrote in a letter to lawmakers this week. “Failure to pass the NDAA will hamper the credibility of these arguments in future national security conversations and make it impossible to include pro-diversity language in the final, conferenced NDAA.”

Democrats have dubbed the measure the “Truman Amendment,” in honor of President Truman’s 1948 executive order racially integrating the military.

The Trump administration’s policy, which took effect in April, bans most transgender people from serving in the military unless they serve as 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.

“Being from Missouri, I think Harry Truman would be shocked that this would try to be named after him,” Rep. Vicky HartzlerVicky Jo HartzlerHouse approves amendment to reverse transgender military ban The House-passed bills that have ended up in the Senate 'graveyard' Dem proposal to ban Pentagon funds for border wall survives House panel votes MORE (R-Mo.) said. “I would remind my colleagues that the [Department of Defense] DOD policy is based on medical conditions, not an individual's fluid and preferred gender identity. It's based on deployability and readiness, not discrimination.”

Opponents of the policy argue it 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.

Updated at 4:22 p.m.