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". Congress should reject this cruel and unwarranted attempt to deny necessary care to transgender Americans and harm those serving our country.
The Democrat added that "bigotry is the last thing this country should offer any fearless man or woman who volunteers to defend us".
Stephen Peters, a Human Rights Campaign spokesperson and Marine veteran discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", denounced House leadership for allowing a vote on the anti-transgender measure. "It would have been beyond unconscionable to rip away the critically important health care of transgender military family members and service members - care that their doctors believe is medically necessary - and would have severely harmed thousands of military families and undermined military readiness".
A House floor vote is expected tomorrow on the amendment to the FY18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to ban critical access to transition-related health care for military service members and their families. The defense bill, which authorizes up to $696 billion in 2018 military spending, is expected to come to a final vote Friday. That is partly because estimates of transgender troops in the military remain inexact.
It is estimated that there are more than 6,500 transgender people in active military service. "Cisgender service members could take hormones for birth control, to treat a gynecological condition or other conditions requiring hormone replacement therapy; but it is uniquely banned for transgender people". As it stands, transgender people who are already in the military may serve, but openly transgender recruits are barred from enlisting. "You're joining the US military", he said.
Ros-Lehtinen was among the 24 Republicans, including Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who voted against the amendment.
Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri had previously attempted to amend the spending bill with a measure to fully repeal a policy enacted previous year, under the Obama administration, that allows transgender people to serve openly and receive transition related care. Because she's anxious cisgender troops won't be able to handle sharing showering facilities with transgender troops, she believes that transgender service is a threat to national security comparable to that posed by North Korea, Russia, and ISIS. Ash Carter said a year ago, when he announced the policy to allow transgender service, that a study by the RAND Corporation found health care "costs would be minimal" and that "the medical treatment that service members who are now transgender require is fairly straightforward, well understood". "The Hartzler amendment undermines readiness by arbitrarily limiting medical care for transgender service members". This had negative implications for our nation's military readiness.
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".