Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee shot down Republicans’ attempt to investigate gender ideology in the military in a Tuesday vote as the Pentagon comes under fire from conservative lawmakers for an emphasis on woke policies.
The resolution of inquiry, led by Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia, would have required the Department of Defense (DOD) to hand over records containing references to a list of terms related to “woke” gender ideology, transgenderism and gender transitioning. However, the Democrat majority on the committee voted against the resolution, arguing in the hearing that Republicans have exploited the measure to gain political points ahead of a planned litany of inquiries into the Biden administration come January.
The resolution asked for communication in any form that included the words “transgender, gender identity, gender transition, gender reassignment, gender affirming, gender neutral, gender dysphoria, nonbinary, gendered language, safe space” and “inclusive language.” (RELATED: ‘Not Too Soft’: Def Sec Austin Responds To Criticism That Diversity Policies Turn Military Into ‘Pansies’)
Under President Joe Biden, the DOD reversed policy to recognize “transgender” and “gender non-conforming” people serving in the U.S. military, which was prohibited under the Trump administration. The DOD would work to support the human rights of “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning individuals” around the world, former Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said in a briefing.
“This is the mother of all fishing expeditions,” Democratic committee chairman Adam Smith of Washington said at the hearing, arguing the request would overburden the Pentagon “toward no particular purpose.”
DASD Blyden & Mme Bineta Diop, African Union Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security, had a productive and enlightening discussion today in Senegal; key to understanding gendered impact of instability on local populations & pursuing inclusive solutions. #WPS #security #Africa pic.twitter.com/W4Atw9pBdl
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) October 24, 2022
GOP representatives on the committee countered that the woke policies had frightened off possible recruits and contributed to an overall weakening of the force.
“The woke ideology that Secretary [Lloyd] Austin has advanced has harmed our military,” said Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida.
The resolution is necessary “because we don’t get straight answers when we ask [the Secretary of Defense and top military leadership] directly” regarding queries about wokeness and Critical Race Theory in the military, Gaetz said, adding that Secretary Austin repeatedly shut down their verbal interactions.
Instances such as the Air Force Academy’s “gender inclusive” classes and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs inclusion of free hormone replacement therapy in its TRICARE medical coverage for former service members have also concerned Republican lawmakers.
Republican Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers has promised that the House will move to investigate DOD when Republicans take the majority in 2023 in a statement ahead of the vote.
“Our troops should not be the vanguard for the left’s social agenda,” he said.
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