The U.S. House on Thursday rejected an
amendment that sought to prohibit the Department of Defense from
providing transition-related health care to transgender troops.
According to the
Blade, Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler's amendment was
narrowly defeated with a 214-209 vote.
The amendment, which would cut off
funds for treatments such as hormone therapy and gender reassignment
but not access to mental health treatment for transgender troops, was
part of the $697 billion defense authorization bill for 2018.
All 190 Democrats were joined by 24
Republicans in voting against the amendment.
Hartzler, a vocal opponent of LGBT
rights, suggested that the amendment was a necessary cost-cutting
“We must confront these challenges by
ensuring our defense dollars maximize the military's readiness and
lethality,” Hartzler said, referring to threats posed by North
Korea, ISIS and Russia. “That is why I'm offering an amendment to
advance these goals by prohibiting taxpayer dollars from funding
gender reassignment surgeries and related hormone therapy treatments
for members of the military and their dependents.”
The Pentagon last year lifted its ban
on open transgender military service and was scheduled to begin
allowing transgender people to enlist on July 1. Defense Secretary
James Mattis delayed the plan by six months.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, applauded Thursday's vote.
“Today’s strong, bipartisan vote
sent a resounding message of support for our military families and
transgender service members,” HRC President Chad Griffin said.
“This dangerous amendment would have put at risk the health and
wellbeing of military families, and threatened military readiness and
national security. We applaud those members from both parties who
stood up for the thousands of transgender service members proudly
serving their country.”