Two senators are trying to delay President Donald Trump’s transgender ban, and their attempt appears to have support from GOP Sen. John McCain.
Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Republican Sen. Susan Collins have proposed an amendment to the annual defense budget bill that would prohibit the Pentagon from halting gender transition medical treatments or ousting any open transgender service members until the military completes a study and sends it to Congress, The Washington Examiner reports.
Once summer recess is over, the amendment will receive consideration from legislators back in session. So far, the proposal appears to have some backing from McCain, chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services.
“The Pentagon’s ongoing study on this issue should be completed before any decisions are made with regard to accession,” McCain said Friday.
For McCain, pushing actively serving transgenders out of the military “would be a step in the wrong direction.”
Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced Tuesday he’s keeping all current policies on transgenders intact until an expert panel can issue guidance on how best to implement Trump’s transgender ban. While transgender recruits are not allowed to sign up with the military, transgenders currently serving are allowed to remain in the military for now and receive gender transition treatment up until March, pending a report from the expert panel.
“In the interim, current policy with respect to currently serving members will remain in place,” Mattis said Tuesday evening. “I expect to issue interim guidance to the force concerning the president’s direction, including any necessary interim adjustments to procedures, to ensure the continued combat readiness of the force until our final policy on this subject is issued.”
Trump first tweeted an announcement of the transgender ban on July 26 and officially signed a directive to that effect last Friday. The Senate comes back into session on Sept. 5, at which point amendments can be made to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The probability of the measure successfully moving into law is low, as it would first have to be approved for a Senate floor vote and then would need to survive reconciliation between the Senate and House version of the legislation. Trump also needs to sign the NDAA before it becomes law.
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