By Rowan Scarborough - The Washington Times - Thursday, July 13, 2017
Two-dozen House Republicans broke with their pro-defense brethren Thursday and helped Democrats kill an amendment that would have barred the military from funding transgender sex reassignment surgeries and hormone therapies.
The amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which sets out policies on America’s $696 billion military budget, failed 214-209, with all Democrats and 24 Republicans opposing.
It means the military health care system will be called on to provide such surgeries as routine treatments for the first time, unless the Trump administration changes Obama-era policies that allow transgender troops to remain on duty.
The amendment was brought by Rep. Vicky Hartzler, Missouri Republican and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, who said the military will be obligated to spend $3.7 billion the next 10 years on sex change operations.
She said the money could better be spent on weapons and readiness accounts at a time when troops are fighting Islamist terrorism and facing possible showdowns with North Korea and Russia.
“This amendment does not prevent anyone from joining the military or receiving standard medical care,” Mrs. Hartzler said. “It simply makes sure our defense resources are allocated in a way that is smart and good for our national defense. This current policy of providing and paying for transgender surgeries hurts readiness.”