Sci-tech

Republicans fail in last-ditch push to ban medical treatments for transgender troops

Republicans fail in last-ditch push to ban medical treatments for transgender troops

Hartzler said in a statement that the amendment rejected Thursday does not prevent transgender people from joining the military or deny transgender service members health care.

Hartzler argued that her amendment would save the military money, and said the Department of Defense could buy 13 more F-35 fighter jets with the money that would be used for gender reassignment surgeries and hormone treatments for transgender service members. "Make no mistake, the effect and the intent of this unjust and mean-spirited amendment is to ban patriotic Americans from serving our country", she said.

"There are many problems, but funding transition surgeries with tax dollars is problematic because the surgery is very costly", Hartzler told CNN. In late June, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis delayed the enlistment of new transgender troops, originally planned to begin on July 1 of this year, giving the branches a further six months to assess whether that change will affect the "readiness or lethality" of the force.

Hartzler previously offered an amendment to the NDAA to prohibit transgender people from openly serving in the military, and has characterized allowing transgender people to do so as a "domestic threat".

Katko, R-Camillus, and Tenney, R-New Hartford, who represent Central New York, were joined by Upstate Republicans Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro; Tom Reed, R-Corning; and John Faso, R-Kinderhook, in opposing the GOP amendment.

"Republicans should be ashamed: instead of protecting the men and women who risk their lives to defend our freedoms, they are fighting to rip away the health care of thousands of fearless service members", Pelosi said in a statement.

Hartzler estimated transition surgeries, which she said most private insurance plans don't even cover, could cost the military $1.3 billion over the next 10 years.

The ACLU is sending a letter to the House today to vote against this discriminatory and unconstitutional amendment.

Hartzler's amendment to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) follows another that she withdrew last week targeting the Obama-imposed policy allowing gender-confused "transgender" individuals to serve openly in the USA military.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement that the defeat of the amendment sent a "resounding message of support" for transgender service members and their families. "We applaud those members from both parties who stood up for the thousands of transgender service members proudly serving their country".

"Republicans should be ashamed: instead of protecting the men and women who risk their lives to defend our freedoms, they are fighting to rip away the health care of thousands of courageous service members", Pelosi said in a statement.

The amendment would have prohibited the Pentagon from paying for gender transition treatments like hormone therapy. Advocates state that lifting the ban allows the military to recruit the best talent, regardless of transgender status, and cite to a 2016 RAND Corporation study that found open service would have a "minimal impact on readiness". Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) also predicted it would pass, suggesting the need to work closely with the Defense Department on its implementation. All the House's Democrats voted against it, as did 24 Republicans.


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