House refuses transphobic amendment to budget

Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), kept her promise of a couple of weeks ago to go after service by transgender people when the Defense budget hit the floor of the House.

Hartzler introduced an amendment intended to ban medical treatment for transgender troops and their families.

California's hairball Duncan Hunter summarized the content:

Choose what gender you are before you join.

--Hunter

Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) responded:

No one in the Pentagon has called for this. The Hartzler amendment would single out and rob a small group of military service members and their families of their health care merely because these folks, or members of their family, experience gender a little differently.

--Maloney

After a couple of hours of so-called debate, two dozen republicans joined with all the democrats to kill the amendment, 214-209.

It’s a hurtful amendment, it’s not needed. I view it as a personal issue, because as a mom I’m impacted, but it’s an issue of fairness for everyone. You don’t have to know someone that’s transgender or have someone in your immediate family to feel this impact. It’s just needlessly hurtful and serves no useful purpose.

--Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)

Hartzler argued that her amendment would save the military money, and said the Department of Defense could buy 13 more F-35 fighter jets with the money that would be used for gender reassignment surgeries and hormone treatments for transgender service members.

By recruiting and allowing transgender individuals to serve in our military we are subjecting taxpayers to high medical costs including up to $130,000 per transition surgery, lifetime hormone treatments, and additional surgeries to address the high percentage of individuals who experience complications. This policy is costly and a threat to our readiness.

Leaders from both parties came to an agreement: The annual must-pass bill wasn’t the place for Hartzler’s contentious proposal.

To be clear, this vile amendment is a vicious attack on service members who are sacrificing so much and putting their lives on the line for our country. The amendment would also strip “medically necessary” care from transgender family members.

This is vitally important care that military families are already receiving, and these medical decisions should be left to medical professionals and their patients. This legislative assault on military families absolutely must be stopped.

--Ashley Broadway-Mach, American Military Partner Association

This amendment will go back in an area where we going forward. It wouldn’t just impact transgender people who are serving, it would also impact their children. It’s a social agenda that has no business being in the defense bill.

--Adam Smith (D-WA)

Make no mistake, the effect and the intent of this unjust and mean-spirited amendment is to ban patriotic Americans from serving our country. It is designed to drum transgender servicemembers out of the military. 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 brave servicemembers.

--Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

Defense Secretary Mattis called for the amendment to be withdrawn before the vote.

The Secretary’s position is that the Department of Defense will continue to treat all Service members with dignity and respect.

--DoD spox

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