The full House will vote Thursday on whether to keep the amendment in the bill, as lawmakers plow through the 122 proposed amendments. Hartzler portrayed her proposal as a good government plan aimed at assuring military dollars are spent only on critical national defense needs.
Missouri GOP Rep. Vicky Hartzler filed an amendment to the House National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which successfully moved through the Rules Committee.
Democrats objected to the amendment as discriminatory and a step backwards from the repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell" that allowed gay and lesbian service members to serve openly.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, a California Republican and Marine Corps veteran, expressed a similar sentiment in an interview with CNN. "U.S. taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the bill". As part of this process, the Department of Defense set July 1, 2017 as the date for the military to begin enlisting transgender service members. Indy columnist Heidi Beedle addressed the first two points in this week's Queer & There, but on the financial side: An extensive study from the RAND Corporation explains that the cost of providing transition-related medical care to the small number of trans members of the military who seek such health care is "relatively low".
Once again, the rights of transgender people have entered the public conversation.
"The arguments being made to discriminate against transgender servicemembers are the exact same as those faced by women, African-Americans, and any other minority groups before they were able to serve in our military", said a statement from Ryan.
Rep. Hartzler attempted to prevent any transgender people from serving in the military at all.
Why exactly Mattis called Hartzler on Thursday to urge her to withdraw the amendment is unclear; however, in his statement to Task & Purpose said, Michael seemed to suggest that if transgender troops are allowed to serve openly, Mattis will ensure that they can do so without suffering any form of prejudice.
"I think it's important that we work closely with the DOD on this", he said, referencing the DoD review. Hartzler introduced her amendment despite the rollback, although it seems less ambitious than her threat during committee.
As Republicans and Democrats hammered out the massive $696 billion Department of Defense budget proposal, leaders from both parties came to an agreement: The annual must-pass bill wasn't the place for Hartzler's contentious proposal.
'This vile amendment is a vicious attack on service members who are sacrificing so much and putting their lives on the line for our country, ' said Ashley Broadway-Mack, president of the American Military Partner Association. Following official ratification of the leadership's decision by the House Rules Committee, the amendment was headed to the House floor on July 13.
"Military service is a privilege, not a right", Hartzler said in June.
The amendment outraged Democrats, who called it ignorant, mean-spirited and denigrating, while Republicans argued the Pentagon should not be spending its money on such medical care.