(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) A group of 23 Republicans voted against an amendment that would have prohibited the military from spending taxpayer money on gender reassignment surgery or hormone therapy treatment. The amendment, presented by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), failed by a 209-214 vote last Thursday.
While some people expected moderate and liberal Republicans to oppose the amendment, conservative Republicans were surprised to see Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) vote “no.”
Amash defended his vote in a Facebook post.
“The [National Defense Authorization Act] says nothing about transgender persons. The Trump administration can keep or change the current policy at its discretion. Sec. Mattis and the White House urged us not to adopt the Hartzler Amendment. And all the administration wants is three months to review everything,” Amash wrote. “Given the facts, circumstances, and eminently reasonable request from the Trump administration, it was not a difficult decision to vote no on this amendment. After Sec. Mattis announces the DoD’s finalized policy, we can discuss the policy with him, evaluate it, and seek changes if necessary.”
His criticism comes down to two things: First, the text of the NDAA does not address transgender persons, so the amendments should not either. And, the Trump administration asked for time to develop its own policy without interference from Congress.
Amash has been one of the most outspoken critics of the Trump administration and recently called Donald Trump Jr.’s connection with Russia “serious & disturbing,” so Republicans find it hard to believe he simply wants to defer to Trump and Mattis’ judgment on transgender issues.
Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) spoke in support of Hartzler’s amendment on the House floor.
“We are $20 trillion in debt. Taxpayers, by my figures, are projected to pay $3.7 billion over the next 10 years for sex reassignment surgery and hormone therapy for those in the military who
wish to transition from one sex to another. The total cost includes the manpower lost while the individual transitions, which can take up to a year or longer, depending on complications.”
But Amash, who has branded himself a fiscal conservative, said “the NDAA does not fund sex changes,” in a Facebook post.
He also expressed support for the military’s current transgender policy, which is that service members may only receive treatment when it is “medically necessary.” Critics of this view have called transgenderism an “ideology,” rather than a medical issue.
Amash and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), a like-minded pair, split on the amendment.
“Still in disbelief that Congress passed a defense authorization (NDAA) earlier today that funds sex changes for members of the military, as well as $43 billion for our 17th year of the war in Afghanistan. I voted no,” Massie said on Facebook.
Amash joined Massie in opposition to the final NDAA bill.