Provision requiring women to register for draft stripped from defense bill

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A provision of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have added women to the military draft has been dropped, according to legislation filed Tuesday.

A source familiar with negotiations confirmed that the provision had been stripped, but didn’t respond to questions on why the measure was dropped.

But according to Politico, which first reported the move, the provision was stripped so that Republicans could accept changes to the military justice system.

The move comes as lawmakers inch toward final passage of the NDAA, which the Senate was considering last week. The legislation hit several snags over amendments that would receive votes.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in Dear Colleague letter on Monday that he was dropping the Senate’s version of the defense policy bill and would bring the final negotiated version to the floor. 

“For this coming week, we anticipate processing nominations and a final conference agreement on NDAA. Due to the time it may take to process those items in the Senate without cooperation, Senators should prepare for potential weekend votes,” he said.

The last time the U.S. instituted a military draft was the Vietnam War. However, all male citizens ages 18 to 25 are required to register for what’s called the Selective Services System.

Expanding Selective Services had been under consideration since 2016, when all combat jobs were opened to female service members.

Both the Senate and House Armed Services committees voted to include language expanding the draft to their respective chamber’s version of the legislation.

However, some Republicans blasted the move. 

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced an amendment to the NDAA in early November that would have removed the provision.

In an interview with Fox News, Hawley hailed the removal as “tremendous news.”

“If this is accurate, I think that this is a big victory for common sense,” Hawley told Fox. “And I’m glad to have helped lead the charge on this.”  

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) similarly hailed the removal of the proposal on Twitter.

“We should not draft women,” Lee tweeted. “I am glad that my efforts with Sen. Hawley made that clear.” 

Tags Chuck Schumer Josh Hawley Mike Lee

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