House votes to block ban on transgender military service. Bill now goes to GOP-controlled Senate

Many transgender troops are racing to deal with the Trump administration’s new policy that takes effect Friday which will largely bar military personnel from transitioning to another sex and require most to serve in their birth gender. (April 11) AP, AP

WASHINGTON – On Tuesday afternoon, the House of Representatives voted to block the implementation of a ban on transgender military service members.

In a 243-183 vote, the House voted to adopt an amendment to Pentagon funding that would prevent any funds from being used to implement a Pentagon rule barring most transgender people from serving in the military.

Nine Republicans crossed party lines to vote for the amendment. Only one Democrat voted no – Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn.

Speaking in support of the amendment on the House floor, Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md., said “The president and his administration wrongly argue that it’s about military readiness and unit cohesion, but these arguments are the same ones that were used to keep the military racially segregated. My service in an integrated armed forces did not harm readiness.”

Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., responded to Brown, arguing that transgender service members would “undermine the readiness of our military at a time when we can least afford it.’

In July 2017, President Donald Trump had tweeted that he wanted to ban all transgender people from serving in the military. The Pentagon had since tweaked the policy to prohibit troops seeking treatment for gender dysphoria from serving, which effectively banned most, but not all transgender service members. The policy went into effect in April.

The vote came during a House session to approve appropriations bill that would allocate $982.8 billion in discretionary spending for FY 2020 for federal agencies. Even though the House has approved the spending package, it must now be reconciled with the Republican-controlled Senate’s spending bills.

*story by USA Today