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 TrumpMilitary personnel to handle coronavirus patients at facilities in NYC, New Orleans and Dallas Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort has total of 20 patients: report Fauci says that all states should have stay-at-home orders 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 SpeierOvernight Defense: Aircraft carrier captain removed from duty after pleading for help with outbreak | Trump to expand use of defense law to build ventilators | Hospital ships receiving few patients Aircraft carrier captain removed from duty after pleading for help with coronavirus outbreak House Democrats eyeing much broader Phase 3 stimulus 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 BrooksThe rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2019 Hispanic Democrats endorse Latina for open Indiana seat Trump shocks, earns GOP rebukes with Dingell remarks MORE (Ind.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickDemocrats bullish on bill to create women's history museum: 'It's an election year' This week: Trump's budget lands with a thud on Capitol Hill House approves pro-union labor bill MORE (Pa.), Trey HollingsworthJoseph (Trey) Albert HollingsworthThe housing affordability crisis is a reality: Lawmakers need to act, but responsibly Overnight Defense: House passes bills to rein in Trump on Iran | Pentagon seeks Iraq's permission to deploy missile defenses | Roberts refuses to read Paul question on whistleblower during impeachment trial Here are the lawmakers who defected on Iran legislation MORE (Ind.), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdGarth Brooks accepts Library of Congress's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song Texas kicks off critical battle for House control Gun control group plans to spend million in Texas in 2020 MORE (Texas), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoTo fight the rising tide of hate in our country, we must stop bias-based bullying in the classroom Hillicon Valley: House passes key surveillance bill | Paul, Lee urge Trump to kill FISA deal | White House seeks help from tech in coronavirus fight | Dem urges Pence to counter virus misinformation Lawmakers criticize Trump's slashed budget for key federal cyber agency MORE (N.Y.), Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedInfrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens Overnight Defense: Pentagon curtails more exercises over coronavirus | House passes Iran war powers measure | Rocket attack hits Iraqi base with US troops House passes measure limiting Trump's ability to take military action against Iran MORE (N.Y.), Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikLawmakers press IRS to get coronavirus checks to seniors Hispanic Caucus campaign arm unveils non-Hispanic endorsements Congress tiptoes toward remote voting MORE (N.Y.), Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversHouse passes bill to allow VA to fund service dogs for veterans with PTSD Koch campaign touts bipartisan group behind ag labor immigration bill Waters clashes with Trump officials over 'disastrous' housing plans MORE (Ohio), Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonOvernight Defense: Pentagon curtails more exercises over coronavirus | House passes Iran war powers measure | Rocket attack hits Iraqi base with US troops House passes measure limiting Trump's ability to take military action against Iran House passes .3 billion measure to fight coronavirus MORE (Mich.) and Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenOvernight Energy: Trump rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards | Controversial Keystone XL construction to proceed | Pressure mounts to close national parks amid pandemic Infrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens Critics blast Trump mileage rollback, citing environment and health concerns 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 HartzlerGOP lawmakers express concerns about Giuliani's work in Ukraine House approves amendment to reverse transgender military ban The House-passed bills that have ended up in the Senate 'graveyard' 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.