GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA — Sen. Marco Rubio co-sponsored legislation this week that would move power to the Congress in determining whether women should be eligible for the military draft, in an apparent contrast of views he expressed just last week.
Proponents of the bill argue that it would prevent President Obama from issuing an executive order forcing women to register for the Selective Service. Sen. Rubio has stated on the record that he is in favor of women having to register for the Selective Service, which would give the government power to draft female soldiers into combat roles if it so chooses.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), the bill’s original sponsor, has found support not only from Rubio, but from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who is running against the Florida senator for the Republican nomination for president.
“Senator Rubio agrees with Senator [Mike] Lee that Congress needs to determine the future of the Selective Service system and is working on legislation to codify that role and plans to support it,” a Rubio spokesperson told National Review regarding the senator’s position.
Just last week, in the latest Republican presidential debate, it appeared that Rubio had expressed polar opposite views on women in the Selective Service.
Rubio offered support for a federal mandate that would force women to register for the Selective Service, which was formed to keep a database of military-age males who would be eligible to be drafted into the military in a time of war.
“I support that,” Rubio told moderator Martha Raddatz. “Obviously, now that that is the case [that women can serve in more combat roles]. I do believe that Selective Service should be opened up for both men and for women in case a draft is ever instituted.”
Cruz has maintained consistency in his opposition to women in combat.
“The idea that we would draft our daughters to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close combat, I think, is wrong. It is immoral,” the Texas senator stated last week.
Marco Rubio, on the other hand, is joined by establishment rival and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in supporting forcing women to register for the Selective Service. They were also joined by Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), who offered support for the measure before dropping out of the race after a poor showing the New Hampshire Republican Primary.