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Congress Alert

Breaking: Women Draft Provision Removed from House NDAA


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Rebecca Kheel reports in the Hill that the US House Rules Committee Rules Committee on Monday removed from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which the House Armed Services Committee approved last month, a provision requiring women to register with the Selective Services System. The bill is expected to be considered on the House floor this week. The registration requirement would pave the way for conscripting women into the US military. Last week the Senate Armed Services Committee also included the requirement in its version of the NDAA.

As reported Monday by Karoun Demirjian in the Washington Post, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX), who voted against the provision when it was considered in the committee, planned to offer an amendment on the House floor to remove the women draft provision from the bill.

Given that the House Armed Services Committee narrowly passed the women draft provision by a 32 to 30 vote, there was good reason to suspect that removing the provision could receive majority support on the House floor.

There was a catch, though. Demirjian notes that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated the women draft provision would reduce US government spending by a few million dollars because women who fail to register would be denied eligibility for Pell Grants as a penalty. A House floor amendment can be ruled out of order if it would cause spending to increase, including by eliminating a reduction in spending within the legislation.

While removal of the women draft provision is significant, Demirjian writes that some representatives are planning to offer NDAA amendments that would even roll back the existing Selective Service registration requirement. Demirjian notes that “a measure from Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wisc.) would dispense with the Selective Service entirely” while one from “Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) would eliminate the federal penalties for failing to register.”
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