On Thursday, the House voted to pass the annual National Defense Authorization Act in a 316-113 vote. This year’s act includes the mandate that all females 18-25 years old register for the military draft. The selective service system updated its language to change registration to “all Americans” and change “men” to “persons.”
These changes have been attempting to get implemented since 2016, when women could take combat jobs. The Senate Armed Services Committee already included a provision requiring women to register with the selective service system.
On September 1, four Republican members on the Armed Services Committee voted in favor of including women in the draft. The members are Liz Cheney, Michael Waltz, Jack Bergman, and Patrick Fallon. Waltz argued, “The United States would “need everybody … man, woman, gay, straight, any religion, black, white, brown.”
Republican Brad Renstrup, a former Army combat surgeon, said, “There are still physical requirements for certain jobs that you have to be able to perform and fulfill. It doesn’t mean that you know, if there is a draft, a woman necessarily has to go be in the infantry.”
Our military has welcomed women for decades and are stronger for it. But America’s daughters shouldn’t be drafted against their will. I opposed this amendment in committee, and I’ll work to remove it before the defense bill passes.
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) July 23, 2021
Senator Tom Cotton tweeted, “Our military has welcomed women for decades and is stronger for it. But America’s daughters shouldn’t be drafted against their will. I opposed this amendment in committee, and I’ll work to remove it before the defense bill passes.”
The House Republican Conference characterized the defense act as one of the most important bills, highlighting the military’s unprecedented challenges. The Conservative House Freedom Caucus opposed the bill because it forced “our daughters” to register for the draft. Democrat leaders would not allow a vote on an amendment removing the draft provision.
To protest, Rep. Chip Roy made a motion to adjourn. In a statement, Roy said, “I will always vote against any bill that permits the government to draft my daughter, and I will not support any Republican who votes in favor of its final passage, regardless of excuse.”
There are a large number of conservatives who oppose adding women to the draft but don’t see it as a big enough issue to prevent them from passing the bill. “The NDAA is never perfect, and this is the case where the good far outweighs the bad,” Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, told the Washington Examiner.
Senator James Inhofe doesn’t anticipate a large fight to be put up as the bill makes its way through the legislative process.
Currently, men who fail to register with the Selective Service System may lose access to federal aid for college or be disqualified from obtaining federal jobs.
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