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U.S. House Votes to Keep Military Transgender Rights, Environmental Studies in 2018 Fiscal Bill

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.)

The U.S. House of Representatives Thursday refused to turn back the clock on transgender military rights.

Members narrowly rejected an amendment that would have denied transgender service members the right to transition-related health care and surgery.

Among the 210 proposed amendments brought before the House, two confronted hot-button topics and were rejected by House members, ultimately giving a win to those fighting for transgender rights as well as the environment.

The Hartzler amendment attacked a standard right of transgender service members by barring them from receiving gender reassignment surgery and other therapies.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) developed and proposed the amendment which would end the policy that has been in place since last October. The amendment would have halted all military expenses allocated to ‘transition-related care.’

Hartzler claimed that the amendment was “intended to focus the attention of the U.S. military on confronting the nation’s adversaries — such as North Korea, Russia and the Islamic State — instead of other tasks.” Most members of the U.S. House disagreed.

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The amendment was rejected by a narrow margin vote of 214-209. 24 House Republicans joined all 190 Democrats in denying the amendment. This success will keep the Pentagon policy in place, allowing transgender service members to have access to surgery and therapy, upon a doctors’ recommendation.

One of the other amendments attacked the issue of climate change. Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) proposed an amendment that would block Department of Defense studies into the impact of climate change on national security.

By a vote of 234-185, the House rejected the amendment.

Striking down this amendment will keep the study in the bill. The negative effects of climate change “are drivers of geopolitical instability and degrade the security of the United States,” Rep. Stefanik said.

“We would be remiss in our efforts to protect our national security to not fully account for the risk climate change poses to our bases, our readiness and to the fulfillment of our armed services mission,” she continued.

The completed defense bill is expected to come to up for a vote today. The bill controls up to $696 billion in military spending for the 2018 fiscal year.


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