Bipartisan amendment entered to support trans service members

Tom Williams  CQPHO

Trump announced his transgender ban in a July tweet, intending to reverse a 2016 Obama administration policy that ended the ban on service by transgender men and women. It's still unclear whether the measure will get a vote, as it's one of scores of proposed amendments to the defense bill.

Two senators are leading a bipartisan effort to block President Trump's ban on transgender people in the military. Susan Collins, R-Maine, have introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would block President Donald Trump's transgender service ban. "Collins to introduce our bipartisan amendment to protect transgender members of our Armed Forces, and I will always fight for our fearless transgender troops who put their lives on the line to protect our country".

This amendment would push that from taking effect until 60 days after Defense Secretary James Mattis is set to submit his review of the decision to Congress, which must be done sometime before February 21 of next year.

Senator Gillibrand, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, said: "Any individual who wants to join our military and meets the standards should be allowed to serve, period. Gender identity should have nothing to do with it", said Gillibrand.

"Our Armed Forces should welcome the service of any qualified individual who is willing and capable of serving our country", Collins added in a statement.

Late last month, the White House issued guidance on implementing Trump's ban, which he first announced on Twitter. The legislation will need to be taken up for a vote, and then need 60 votes to make it into the higher chamber's version of the bill.

Gillibrand and Collins were also both at the forefront of repealing "don't ask, don't tell," the policy that allowed gay and lesbian service members to be discharged due to their sexual orientation.

Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who is now battling brain cancer, will lead debate on the NDAA on the Senate floor this week.

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