GOP backs Defense Authorization Act that requires women to register for draft

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The House Republican Conference expressed support for the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which contains an amendment that requires women to register for the draft.

“While President Biden is embroiled in countless national security crises, House Republicans are committed to supporting our troops and keeping America safe and secure through the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022,” read a memo summarizing the caucus’ views. “This is one of the most important bills we will pass in Congress as our military faces unprecedented challenges.”

A House panel voted 35-24 on Sept. 1 to approve an amendment introduced by Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., that would effectively require women ages 18-25 to register for the Selective Service System like their male counterparts. The Senate Armed Services Committee made a similar vote in July to expand any potential draft to women.

The United States has not instituted a draft since the Vietnam War.

“By reforming the Selective Service to be gender-neutral based registration, we draw on the talents of our entire nation in the time of a national emergency,” Houlahan said at the time, according to The Hill. “The current male-only registration sends a message to women not only that they are not vital to the defense of the country, but also that they are not expected to participate in defending it.”

Rep. Michael Waltz, a Florida Republican who voted in favor of the amendment, reasoned at the time that if the United States ever needs the draft again, it would “need everybody … man, woman, gay, straight, any religion, black, white, brown.”

According to the text of the bill, Section 513 is titled “Modernization of the Selective Service System,” and amends the draft-related portions of the U.S. Code by striking out masculine pronouns and words such as “male citizen” and “male person.” The amendment would replace them simply with “citizen” and “person.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Ca., did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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