The House voted Tuesday to block the Pentagon’s new transgender troop policy, taking a swipe at President Donald Trump’s move to ban transgender service in the military.
During debate on a $1 trillion spending package, lawmakers voted 243-183 to adopt an amendment from Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) to block funding to implement the new policy, which Democrats slammed as discriminatory and arbitrary.
Story Continued Below
“The president and his administration wrongfully argue that it’s about military readiness and unit cohesion, but these arguments are the same ones that were made to keep the military racially segregated,” said Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.).
“Every service chief testified that transgender service would not disrupt unit cohesion or readiness,” he said.
Democrats have hammered the president for reversing the Obama-era policy allowing transgender individuals to serve openly in the military — a move Trump first announced in a July 2017 tweet.
The new policy, which took effect in April, requires troops diagnosed with gender dysphoria serve in their biological sex. It also bars people with a history of gender dysphoria from joining the military unless they’ve been medically stable in their biological sex for 36 months and haven’t transitioned.
Still, the measure is unlikely to become law, due to more staunch opposition in the Senate.
House Republicans defended the policy as “careful and thoughtful” rather than arbitrary.
“The military is an institution with one primary mission: to fight and win our nation’s wars,” said Rep. Ken Calvert of California, the top Republican on the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. “Anything that interferes with its readiness for that mission poses an unacceptable risk.”