The House of Representatives has approved an amendment to the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that would reverse Donald Trump’s ban on transgender military service members.
The measure, known as the ‘Harry Truman’ amendment, passed by a vote of 242-187. Ten Republicans joined the full Democratic caucus in approving the amendment.
The sponsor of the amendment, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), said, “Over the last three years, 14,000 transgender service members have served openly and successfully.”
The congresswoman also noted that “all five service chiefs affirmed they do not hamper lethality or cohesion.”
The nickname for the amendment references the 1948 executive order by President Harry Truman which desegregated the military.
The measure would require the military to consider gender-neutral occupational standards as well as military occupational specialty in weighing potential applicants.
However, such consideration “may not include any criteria relating to the race, color, national origin, religion, or sex (including gender identity or sexual orientation) of an individual.”
Additionally, the amendment calls for ensuring “equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed forces, without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, and sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation).”
The ban, which took effect in April, was announced in July 2017 via tweet by Donald Trump. According to reports, the announcement took military leaders by surprise.
Last month, the GOP-led Senate passed its own version of the defense authorization bill, which does not include the ‘Harry Truman’ amendment language.
Once the House finishes its work on the defense bill, members of both chambers will meet in conference to come to final agreement.