GOP Rep. [crscore]Pete Sessions[/crscore], chairman of the House Committee on Rules, filed an amendment Monday to the National Defense Authorization Act to make sure women don’t have to sign up for the draft.
In effect, the amendment would remove a provision introduced by GOP Rep. [crscore]Duncan Hunter[/crscore] to force women to sign up for the draft, just like men have to.
Sessions’ amendment will come into play next week when the NDAA hits the floor. Hunter intends to support the amendment, as he only introduced the draft provision to point out the logical consequence and absurdity of allowing women into all combat roles.
“Right now the draft is sexist. Right now the draft only drafts young men,” Hunter said when he first introduced the provision, according to The Washington Examiner.
He didn’t exactly count on his provision being approved by the House Committee on Armed Services in late April by a margin of 32-30. But it did, and now he’s trying to backpedal, but it’s unclear whether backpedaling will work, as making women sign up for the draft is supported by leaders in the Army and Marine Corps. The provision also passed HASC by a bipartisan effort, even though Hunter anticipated that both Republicans and “coffee house liberals” would balk at the idea. They didn’t.
At the time of the vote, Democratic Rep. [crscore]Jackie Speier[/crscore] noted that although Hunter introduced the provision as an exercise in trolling, the idea makes sense on its own.
“While you may be offering this as a gotcha amendment, I think there’s great merit in recognizing each of us have an obligation to be willing to serve our country in time of war and provide some period of time when we do some kind of service,” Speier said.
The reason why women weren’t previously forced to sign up for Selective Service was because they weren’t allowed to serve in combat roles. Now that Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has removed the prohibition entirely in December, the central justification exempting women aged 18-26 from the draft has disappeared.
That hasn’t stopped GOP legislators from coming up with all sorts of new reasons to still exempt them from obligations of service.
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