This past Wednesday, the Senate allowed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to advance, a section of which would put forth a mandate to include women in the military draft, and push the legislation to the debate floor with a vote of 84-15.
The debate concerning the bill is slated to start this coming Thursday, and any amendments that could be pushed to remove the section concerning putting women in the draft for the military may still be pushed through. One initial setback for the moving of the bill to the floor included an argument between Democrats and Republicans concerning a section relating to China that was eventually decided to be cut out and kept apart from the NDAA.
As reported by The Hill, “The agreement to enter formal negotiations on the China bill also freed up the defense bill. Leadership now needs to work through hundreds of amendments to figure out which potential amendments can get a vote.”
Some of the senators who placed their vote against bringing the bill to the Senate floor included Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), and Rand Paul (R-KY). A few Democrats also decided to not bring the bill up for debate, including the likes of Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ).
The section of the bill that would mandate women being signed up for the draft was first added to the NDAA by members of the House back in September. The draft itself has not been dusted off in decades, but it is still the law that all men aged 18-26 must still register for it in case the need for its activation should ever arise again.
Currently, there are many Democrats and a few Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), in the Senate who are in support of requiring women to register for the draft, a select portion of Republicans are vehemently opposed to the idea.
“It is wrong to force our daughters, mothers, wives, and sisters to fight our wars,” stated Hawley early this past month. “Our country is extremely grateful for the brave women who have volunteered to serve our country with and alongside our fighting forces.”
He went on to say: “They have played a vital role in defending America at every point in our nation’s history. But volunteering for military service is not the same as being forced into it, and no woman should be compelled to do so.”
A few Republican colleagues of Hawley’s, such as Joni Ernst (R-IA), have stated that since women are now being allowed to take combat roles in the military then women should “serve to the best of our capacity” concerning the military.