Surprise! Not so surprised though….Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John “Songbird” McCain has backed a bill to block the military’s transgender ban.
McCain is not new to the world of pretending he is a Republican. Although he operates under the party, he often votes on bills that are not in our best interests. For example, when he was one of the few Republicans who voted down the Obamacare repeal.
He said, “When less than one percent of Americans are volunteering to join the military, we should welcome all those who are willing and able to serve our country.”
McCain continued, “Any member of the military who meets the medical and readiness standards should be allowed to serve — including those who are transgender.”
This is the latest show of resistance by McCain, who has frequently been a thorn in Trump’s side. Most dramatically, McCain cast the deciding vote in July to kill the Senate’s attempt at repealing Obamacare. As a Russia hawk, he’s also blasted Trump’s attempted rapprochement with Moscow, and as Armed Service chairman, has frequently criticized Trump for requesting lower-than-expected defense spending and taking months to develop an Afghanistan strategy.
Gillibrand and Collin earlier introduced the bill as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. But the amendment is not expected to get a vote amid a larger dispute of which amendments will make it to a vote.
Friday’s bill would prohibit the Pentagon from involuntarily separating or denying the re-enlistment of currently serving transgender troops solely on the basis of gender identity.
It would also require Defense Secretary James Mattis to complete the study of accession — recruitment and training — of transgender recruits that he started before Trump announced the ban.
Finally, the bill would express the sense of Congress that individuals who are qualified and can meet the standards to serve in the military should be eligible to serve.
“Despite being denied a vote on my bipartisan amendment to defend our transgender service members, we are not giving up in this fight,” Gillibrand said in a statement Friday.
“Thousands of brave transgender Americans love our country enough to risk their lives for it, fight for it, and even die for it, and Congress should honor them and let them serve,” she said. “Doing otherwise would only harm our readiness at a time when our military is deployed around the world in defense of our country.”