Lawmakers in Congress have voted to defund Trump’s transgender military ban.
On Tuesday night, the House of Representatives voted in favor of an amendment to prevent the United States government from using federal money to fund the Trump administration’s restrictive new policy that effectively bans trans people from serving in the military, The Washington Blade reports. The vote was mostly split along party lines, 243-183, with nine Republicans voting for the amendment and one Democrat voting against it.
Introduced by Democratic Reps. Anthony Brown of Maryland and Jackie Speier of California, the amendment, part of a larger $983 billion so-called minibus legislation for the 2020 fiscal year, is less likely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate. The White House has apparently already threatened to veto the legislation, the Blade says, though not because of the trans ban funding amendment.
“Military leaders don’t want this ban and the American people don’t want this ban — including a growing percentage of the president’s own party,” Shannon Minter, the legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said in a statement to the Blade.
There are nearly 15,000 troops who identify as transgender, NBC News reports. Despite Trump’s 2017 claims that trans soldiers are a financial burden, the Pentagon says that it has only spent approximately $8 million on transition-related health care since 2016, while the military’s annual health care budget is more than $50 billion.
“We won’t stop fighting in the courts to end the ban for good and we applaud members of Congress for continuing to fight for our transgender service members as well,” Minter added.