Senate Democrats Put ‘Draft Women’ Clause in National Defense Authorization Act

In this Oct. 4, 2017, photo, a female U.S. Army recruit practices building clearing tactic
John Bazemore/AP

Senate Democrats have added a provision to a yearly defense bill that would require women to sign up for the draft, prompting opposition from Republicans.

The yearly bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, authorizes the fiscal year budget for the Pentagon, but it also authorizes policies and programs at the Pentagon. The House and Senate each pass a version that gets meshed together into one.

This year, Democrats — who control the Senate and the committee drafting the defense bill — included a provision in their version that would require women to register for the draft, according to The Hill.

The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Roger Wicker (MS), said he will try to strip it out of the bill. “I hope it will fall out, either on the floor or in conference,” he told The Hill.

Committee Chairman Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), an Army veteran, told CNN he could not understand why the issue is a “sore point.”

“We have had amendments that would have required women to register and we can’t get any real traction on the other side. We are going to try to do it. It makes sense. The military now is a mixed force,” he told CNN.

Wicker said back in 2021 when he fought against the idea:

I applaud the women who volunteer to serve in the military and who sacrifice every day for our country’s freedom, but to compel their service by law is wrong. I along with millions of other Americans cannot support the idea that our daughters and granddaughters would be forced to fight in our next military conflict against their will.

Republican Sam Brown, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Nevada against incumbent Democrat Sen. Jacky Rosen, has hammered Rosen for voting in favor of the provision.

Brown, an Army veteran who was wounded in Afghanistan, said in a video posted on X:

Look at my face. This is the high cost of war and I just found out that Jacky Rosen voted this week to make signing up for the draft mandatory for our daughters. You’ll be hearing more from me on this.

While the prospect of a war requiring a draft is not on the immediate horizon, under the Biden administration, the U.S. military is currently engaged in conflict in Iraq and Syria, as well as on ships in the Red Sea against Houthi rebels.

U.S. troops are also involved in supporting Israel in its war against Hamas and Ukrainian forces in their war with Russia.

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