Mat­tis pressed to end trans­gen­der pol­icy for troops

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY ROWAN SCAR­BOR­OUGH

A House Repub­li­can has with­drawn, for now, an amend­ment to re­peal Pres­i­dent Obama’s lift­ing of a ban on trans­gen­der troops but warned De­fense Sec­re­tary James Mat­tis that he must act to re­store the long­time ex­clu­sion or face a leg­isla­tive re­volt.

The amend­ment did pro­vide con­ser­va­tives on the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee on Wed­nes­day night a fo­rum to con­demn the for­mer pres­i­dent’s de­ci­sion on grounds that it would drive up med­i­cal costs, re­duce com­bat readi­ness and sub­ject troops to em­bar­rass­ing en­coun­ters.

Mr. Mat­tis faces a Satur­day dead­line, in­her­ited from for­mer De­fense Sec­re­tary Ash­ton Carter, to ap­prove the re­cruit­ment of trans­gen­der peo­ple. Mr. Carter last sum­mer or­dered that trans­gen­der troops on duty no longer face dis­charge. He as­signed com­man­ders the task of shep­herd­ing gen­der re­as­sign­ment pro­ce­dures.

Rep. Vicky Hart­zler, Mis­souri Repub­li­can, of­fered the re­peal amend­ment, which also would pro­vide hon­or­able dis­charges to all cur­rently serv­ing trans­gen­der ser­vice mem­bers.

She de­liv­ered a five-minute speech and then an­nounced that she would with­draw the lan­guage to the fis­cal 2018 de­fense bud­get, giv­ing time for Mr. Mat­tis to re­voke Mr. Carter’s or­der.

Mr. Mat­tis has said he does not plan any re­ver­sals un­less the mil­i­tary shows him the poli­cies have cre­ated prob­lems.

“This pol­icy is ill-con­ceived and con­trary to our goals of in­creas­ing troop readi­ness,” Mrs. Hart­zler said.

She asked why the mil­i­tary bans re­cruits for such rel­a­tively mi­nor de­fects as flat feet but now is go­ing to in­duct peo­ple with gen­der dys­pho­ria. They will re­quire a “life­time of hor­monal treat­ment, psy­chi­atric treat­ment and surg­eries [that] could cost tax­pay­ers $1.5 bil­lion over 10 years,” she said.

“It also is a threat to our readi­ness,” Mrs. Hart­zler said, adding that peo­ple un­der­go­ing sex re­as­sign­ment can­not de­ploy and need more than 200 days off.

“Why would we pur­posely re­cruit in­di­vid­u­als to serve who we know can­not serve?” she said.

Rep. Steve Rus­sell, Oklahoma Repub­li­can, read from Army train­ing slides, in­clud­ing some that tell sol­diers how to deal with a preg­nant man or the sight of male gen­i­talia in the women’s show­ers.

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