Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said she is working with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to draft the proposed amendment to the $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act, a defense bill that is to be considered by the Senate this month.
The move comes in response to President Trump’s August 26th order to ban transgender people from enlisting in the military, while also directingDefense Secretary Jim Mattis and the Department of Homeland Security to come up with a recommendation regarding how to address transgender troops who are currently serving by February 2018.
\\*Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) (Photo REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)\\*
The proposed amendment seems likely to have bipartisan support as many from both major political parties have recently spoken out against the transgender military ban. Among the Republicans who have spoken out is Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), who is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military — regardless of their gender identity. We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so — and should be treated as the patriots they are,” McCain had said in a statement issued regarding the ban.
Other Republicans who have spoken out against the President’s order include Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who responded to Trumps announcement on July 26th via Twitter. “I don’t think we should be discriminating against anyone. Transgender people are people, and deserve the best we can do for them. I look forward to getting much more information and clarity from our military leaders about the policy the President tweeted today,” Hatch said.
The amendment appears as though it would have overwhelming support from Senate Democrats.