Republicans fail to strip trans medical rights from U.S. defence bill

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           GOP Lawmaker Wants to Eliminate Healthcare Funding for Trans Members of Armed Forces
     
     
       By Sydney R

Home Environment | Health GOP Lawmaker Wants to Eliminate Healthcare Funding for Trans Members of Armed Forces By Sydney R

But Mattis called Hartzler on Thursday to urge her to withdraw the amendment from the defense bill, two senior congressional sources told CNN.

"We are saying taxpayers in this country right now will not foot the bill for this", Hunter said.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland challenged the idea that the push was about spending or military readiness. "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. "It has one objective and one goal only: to politically denigrate some of our fellow citizens".

Of the 200 amendments to the $696 billion National Defense Authorization Act that were being debated in the House, the transgender amendment - offered by conservative Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri - was one of the more contentious, CNN notes.

The Pentagon was due to start accepting new transgender troops on 1 July 2017 per changes initiated under the Obama administration. Hartzler made her hostility to transgender people clear when she compared transgender service members to members of ISIS, describing them as a "domestic threat".

"I'm pleased the House rejected an amendment that would only serve to weaken our nation's military readiness", said Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).

The proposal, which would have blocked the military from paying for gender reassignment surgeries and hormone therapy for both service members and their families, was ultimately defeated in the House in a 209-214 vote on Thursday, with 24 Republicans voting against it. Jared Polis of Colorado and Patrick McGovern of MA dissenting.

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Before the vote, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) thoroughly condemned the vote in a House floor speech.

"This is a discriminatory, unconstitutional attack on transgender service members and their families, plain and simple". An estimated 15,000 service members are transgender, according to the Williams Institute, a leading LGBT think tank.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis decided late last month to give the military chiefs another six months to conduct a review to determine if letting transgender people enlist in the armed services will affect the "readiness or lethality" of the force. That plan may now be pushed back until 2018. She said gender transition surgeries could cost the Pentagon about $1.3 billion over 10 years. All Ohio Republicans supported Hartzler's proposal.

But former Defense Sec.

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 unsafe and discriminatory anti-transgender amendment would have passed".

Hartzler reached for props in her closing comments ahead of the vote.

She said the money could better be spent on weapons and readiness accounts at a time when troops are fighting Islamist terrorism and facing possible showdowns with North Korea and Russian Federation. "This is about addressing Russian Federation", she went on, as she flashed a photo of Russia's President Vladimir Putin. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) also predicted it would pass, suggesting the need to work closely with the Defense Department on its implementation.

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