Republicans fail to strip trans medical rights from USA defence bill

House Rules Committee

Hartzler says her amendment is meant to prevent the military from paying for transgender surgeries but explains that her motive is "to ensure that our military is the most effective, efficient and well-funded fighting force in the world". But if you're trying to join the military, you must stay closeted.

Though Hartzler withdrew that amendment, she came back with a vengeance, and a new amendment, on Friday - this one to bar any military funding from going toward medical care related to gender transition. "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.

"At a time when we should be focusing on the threats from North Korea, and Putin, and ISIS, we're having to deal with a threat here at home - a domestic threat - of allowing our service, which is a real problem because it impacts their readiness, and it's a huge cost for our military", Hartzler said.

Transgender people were supposed to be allowed to enlist on July 1 this year, but the day before the deadline Defense Secretary Jim Mattis deferred the decision for another 6 months. 'It is imperative that the House of Representatives reject this harmful amendment'.

Should the US military pay for the gender reassignment surgery of transgender troops?

The vote followed a day of aggressive lobbying by LGBT advocates and supporters to reject the proposal, which Hartzler introduced July 12.

For Pelosi, integrating transgender service members, which includes providing funds for transition treatments, is the continuation of the successful effort to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in 2010.

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Sarah McBride, spokesperson for the LGBT lobby group Human Rights Campaign, reported, "If only three Members of Congress had voted yes instead [i.e., FOR the measure denying taxpayer funding to the Pentagon for transsexual "sex reassignment surgeries"], this risky and discriminatory anti-transgender amendment would have passed".

Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri had previously attempted to amend the spending bill with a measure to fully repeal a policy enacted past year, under the Obama administration, that allows transgender people to serve openly and receive transition related care.

"For example, under the Hartzler amendment, hormone treatment is banned only if the patient is transgender", Flynn said. This would have impacted active personnel who are transgender, as well as the transgender dependents of servicemembers.

"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.

The Rules Committee approved her amendment 10-2 along party lines, with Democratic Reps. That would include life-changing (and many would argue, life-saving) hormone therapy and gender reassignment treatment. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) also predicted it would pass, suggesting the need to work closely with the Defense Department on its implementation.

According to a study by RAND, the cost of providing the medical treatment is relatively low.



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