Vice President Mike Pence is working to reverse the Pentagon’s transgender policy covering sexual reassignment surgery and hormone therapy for service members who are transitioning, Foreign Policy reports.
In 2016, then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban on transgender troops being able to serve openly and said the military would “take care of transgender service members, and pay for necessary medical treatment.”
The House on July 13 defeated a proposal that would have prevented the Pentagon from funding the surgeries, but GOP members this week submitted three amendments to the 2018 defense spending bill that would ban the Pentagon from providing “medical treatment related to gender transition” in hopes the legislation this time would stick.
Pence, according to Foreign Policy, is behind the push. His spokesman Marc Lotter has denied the claim. According to Lotter, Pence “has been focused on healthcare”.
“I am not aware of him speaking to any members about this”, he added.
Medical treatments for transgender service members is a concern, as opponents say it would cost the Pentagon more than $3.7 billion over 10 years. Representative Vicky Hartzler, who presented the proposal July 13, said the cost would be closer to $1 billion, but said “steps must be taken to address this misuse of our precious defense dollars. This policy hurts our military’s readiness”.