Democrat Rep. Chrissy Houlahan’s amendment requiring women to register for the draft was backed by the House Armed Services Committee voting 35-24 on Wednesday night, making the change one step closer to becoming law after the similar vote in the Senate this summer for its defense bill, New York Post reports.
The voted changes were incorporated into to the draft known as the Selective Service System and the summary of the bill now reads that the annual military budget bill, ‘National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) amends the Military Selective Service Act to require the registration of women for Selective Service’.
Despite the fact that Pentagon has repeatedly said it intends to keep US armed forces all-volunteer and a draft hasn’t been instituted by the US military since the Vietnam War, men aged 18 and 25 are still legally required to be registered though the law, however, remains on the books should the US need to conscript men into the service in a time of war.
Losing access to federal financial aid programs for higher education or inability to land a government job along with possible $250,000 fine or up to five years in jail, are is among the penalties for those not registering with the Selective Service System, which now includes “All Americans” as opposed to previously explicit references to men.
When Pentagon opened in 2015 all military combat roles to women, the calls followed to broaden the pool for a potential draft to all Americans with advocates of the change contending the current system is discriminatory since women make up over 50% of the military population, as Air Force veteran Houlahan claimed.
The fact that several Republicans broke ranks to help Democrats to adopt the amendment only confirms the wide support for the change with former Army Green Beret, GOP Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida, warning that the military would everyone in the event of a national emergency so grave to require a draft.
Yet, a group of GOR senators drafted a so called “Don’t Draft Our Daughter’s” resolution in attempt to block the new initiative after the Senate Armed Services Committee approved in July the Senate’s National Defense Authorization Act.
Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley in announcing the measure noted that it’s wrong forcing a military life upon women though American women have heroically served in the US fighting forces since the nation’s founding.
They called this policy change rushed and unnecessary and pointed that it creates disproportionately increased risk of injury and fatalities among women who should be empowered to serve in the US Armed Forces, but should not be forced to fight.