On Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi ripped the GOP for cutting funds for the Department of Defense section devoted to servicemen or women who want their “transition” costs of trading genders covered by the government.
In a statement, Pelosi said:
Republicans should be ashamed: 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. This cowardly Republican amendment targeting transgender men and women in uniform effectively bans these patriotic Americans from serving their country. This disgusting amendment is unprecedented, unacceptable and undermines our national security.
The integration of openly transgender service members into our Armed Forces is the unfinished work of bipartisan efforts to repeal the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, thrown into the dustbin of history by the Democratic Congress in 2010. We only strengthen our military by honoring our values of freedom and equality.
I call upon my Republican colleagues to immediately withdraw this cruel, discriminatory and appalling amendment.
Pelosi was responding to an amendment to the House National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) offered by Missouri GOP Rep. Vicky Hartzler, which was passed by the House Rules Committee. That amendment states, “Funds available to the Department of Defense may not be used to provide medical treatment (other than mental health treatment) related to gender transition to a person entitled to medical care.”
Colorado Democratic Rep. Jared Polis, the co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus, tried to block the amendment, but was blocked himself by the Rules Committee which struck down Polis’ attempt.
Hartzler had said, “Military service is a privilege, not a right. It is predicated on winning wars and defeating the enemy. All decisions on personnel and funding should be made with this in mind.”
LGBT groups chimed in with Pelosi; American Military Partner Association President Ashley Broadway-Mack called the amendment “vile”:
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. As if that’s not outrageous enough, it would also rip away the medically necessary health care of 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. We urge members of Congress to reject this cruel proposal.
Matt Thorn, executive director of OutServe-SLDN, echoed, “We unequivocally condemn Hartzler’s attempt at this amendment. This amendment is a mean-spirited, unconstitutional attempt to impede the recruitment of openly transgender individuals who want to serve their country.”