An amendment by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) to the $696 billion National Defense Authorization Act blocking the U.S. military from paying for gender reassignment surgery or hormone therapy for service members and their families was defeated on Thursday by a vote of 209 to 214.

Twenty-four Republicans crossed the aisle to defeat the amendment leaving the Pentagon free to pay for gender reassignment surgeries for service members and their families.

Those Republicans include Reps. Justin Amash, Mike Coffman, Barbara Comstock, Darrell Issa and Frank LoBiondo.

The Missouri Republican believed her amendment was narrowly-tailored to prevent tax dollars from paying for gender transition surgeries.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.)

Hartzler proposed the politically-charged amendment saying “the Pentagon should not be paying for costly surgeries when it’s struggling with tight budgets and readiness problems. There are many problems, but funding transition surgeries with tax dollars is problematic because the surgery is very costly. Surgical recovery time decreases the deployability of our soldiers, and funding transition surgeries means diverting money from other defense priorities.”

Democrats argued the amendment was discriminatory in nature.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.), argued against Hartzler’s amendment saying, “Make no mistake, the effect and the intent of this unjust and mean-spirited amendment is to ban patriotic Americans from serving our country. They are fighting to rip away the health care of thousands of brave service members,” according to CNN.

Marine veteran and California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter who supported Hartzler’s amendment argued, “the amendment wasn’t preventing transgender people from serving, but said any gender transition should happen before someone enlists. You’re joining the US military. Choose what gender you are before you serve.”


  • For more on the story, see CNN

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