The Missouri Republican proposed - then withdrew without a vote - an amendment barring transgender people from serving in the armed forces, but threatened to reintroduce it if the Pentagon didn't reverse the Obama-era policy change in favor of openly transgender service.
"This was a horrifying, vicious attack on service members and military family members, and our families were beside themselves in fear", said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack.
The U.S. House of Representatives debated that issue Thursday before rejecting a defense bill amendment that would have blocked tax dollars from paying gender-transition expenses for military members and their families.
The amendment was immediately blasted by military LGBT groups, who said it was "cruel" to deny such health benefits to Americans serving in the military.
"At a time when we should be focusing on the threats from North Korea, and Putin, and ISIS, we're having to deal with a threat here at home - a domestic threat - of allowing transgenders.in our service, which is a real problem because it impacts their readiness, and it's a huge cost for our military", Hartzler said.
Openly transgender people have served in the military since October 2016.
Carter put in place a process to occur in stages, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was facing a July 1 deadline on whether to allow new recruits who were transgender.
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HRC called the amendment "outrageous" and protested: "It is imperative that the House of Representatives reject this harmful amendment".
"Republicans should be ashamed: instead of protecting the men and women who risk their lives to defend our freedoms, they are fighting to rip away the health care of thousands of fearless service members", Pelosi said in a statement. While Hartzler argued that there is still a "lack of medical consensus on the effectiveness of gender transition treatments", organizations such as the American Medical Association have in the last decade released statements saying that research supports the effectiveness and "medical necessity" of treatments such as surgery for individuals with gender dysphoria. The final votes were 209-214.
Rep. Hartzler's new amendment - which prohibits the Department of Defense from providing medical treatment for transition-related services - was given the green light by House Republican leadership late Wednesday. Every Republican present voted no. "We applaud those members from both parties who stood up for the thousands of transgender service members proudly serving their country".
A smattering of Democrats gathered to oppose the amendment offered by Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., quietly gasped.
The reason for the amendment is that Hartzler believes pro-transgender policies reduce military readiness.
Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., called the amendment a form of discrimination and bigotry "which had no other goal but to denigrate transgender men and women who serve our country".
A RAND corporation study commissioned by the Pentagon found cost increases for providing such medically necessary care are minimal. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) also predicted it would pass, suggesting the need to work closely with the Defense Department on its implementation.