EXCLUSIVE: Republican senators introduced an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would strip language in the Democrats’ version of the bill that expands the military draft to include women.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., led the effort along with GOP senators Mike Lee of Utah, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Roger Marshall of Kansas, John Boozman of Arkansas and James Lankford of Oklahoma.
The “Don’t Draft our Daughters” amendment specifically strikes Section 521 of the draft fiscal year 2023 NDAA. Language in the Democrat-led draft states that “male person” would be replaced with gender-neutral “person,” so that women could be drafted.
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Democrats cite the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as the basis for the change.
“My view is that we have a force now that would not be as effective and efficient without women,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed, D-R.I., said last year. “I don’t think that most women feel that they shouldn’t register. I think they should.”
However, Democrats were forced to remove the language in the fiscal year 2022 NDAA in part due to a similar effort spearheaded by Hawley.
The Missouri senator warned Reed in June that he and other GOP lawmakers would oppose any language in this year’s NDAA that would green-light a female draft.
“Forcing our daughters, mothers, wives and sisters to fight our wars is wrong. We should celebrate the women who have volunteered to serve our country and thank the women who played a vital role in defending America at every point in our nation’s history,” Hawley told Fox News Digital.
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“But volunteering is different than being forced to serve, and that’s why it was removed from last year’s NDAA. I hope my colleagues join us again to ensure we don’t change our laws to require women in this country to register for the draft.”
A Pentagon spokesperson told Fox News Digital the Department of Defense does not comment on pending or proposed legislation.
The Supreme Court punted on a case last year that could have required women to be included in the U.S. Selective Service System (USSS), citing the fact that Congress continues to take up the issue.
However, transgender women must still register for the military draft, according to the USSS.
“U.S. citizens or immigrants who are born male and changed their gender to female are still required to register,” the Selective Service states on its website.
People who were born female but identify as male do not need to register for the military draft, according to the government.
Fox News’ Emma Colton contributed to this report.