The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report Wednesday showing how forcing women to sign up for the draft will actually save the government money, as some women will inevitably fail to fill out draft paperwork, thus making them ineligible for certain federal benefits.
While a reduction in spending seems immediately counterintuitive, in a document released Wednesday, CBO notes because some men fail to sign up for the draft, they lose federal benefits like student loans and Pell grants.
This same reasoning will apply to women, assuming section 528 of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act is not struck before the annual defense budget bill passes.
“The registration requirements and corresponding limits on eligibility for certain federal benefits that currently apply to men also would apply to women,” the report notes.
At least 3,000 female students in award year 2018-2019 will fail to sign up, a figure CBO estimates will grow to 11,000 by about 2026-2027.
Although funding would need to increase by $33 million over the course of five years for more office space and to hire additional personnel to handle new draft applications, in fiscal year 2018, Pell grant funding would drop by $7 million. No projections beyond that date are possible because the grant program hasn’t been authorized beyond that time. Other direct Pell grant and student loans spending would drop by $56 million over five years.
While the total savings outweigh the costs of implementing the Selective Service expansion, it’s unclear what the exact amount of savings is because of limitations inherent in the projections. But the savings will at minimum be greater than $7 million, Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Aside from Pell grants and student loans, female permanent residents who refuse or forget to sign up for the draft could be delayed up to five years in becoming a citizen, which means the federal government gets to save five years worth of benefits in the form of Supplemental Security Income. These females also during that waiting period would not be allowed to sponsor relatives to come to the United States, which CBO states is another element that potentially could reduce spending.
But because the Department of Homeland Security did not provide data to CBO on how often the agency denies citizenship applications based on failure to register for the draft no cost-savings estimate was possible.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter opened all combat roles to women in December, which had the effect of removing the justification traditionally used to exempt women from the draft. Military leaders have expressed approval of the idea of drafting women. But as an exercise in absurdity, GOP Rep. [crscore]Duncan Hunter[/crscore] introduced a provision to actually draft women, hoping his fellow legislators would strike it down. They didn’t. In late April, the provision narrowly passed the House Committee on Armed Services by a vote of 32-30.
GOP Rep. [crscore]Pete Sessions[/crscore] has introduced an amendment to strike down the provision that Hunter supports, but it’s unclear whether the amendment will be successful.
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