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Lawmakers reject plan to require women to register for military draft

U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Thomas Mort, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs
June 29, 2017

The House Armed Services Committee has rejected a plan to require women between the ages of 18 and 26 to enter the Selective Service System, Military Times reported.

The rejection put the issue on hold until a review on the entire draft system is conducted. The decision followed up the debate on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018.

Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, and other lawmakers pushed for an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have ordered women to sign up for potential involuntary military service with the Selective Service System 30 days after turning 18 years old. All men ages 18 to 26 are required to register.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, a Republican from Texas, opposed the amendment because a review of the Selective Service System is forthcoming and new changes wouldn’t be necessary.

Currently, men between the ages of 18 and 26 are required to register for the draft, but women are exempt from the law due to restrictions in their military service.

However, because combat jobs have recently been opened to women, some say that women should now be required to register for the draft.

“It’s time to stop delaying the inevitable with parliamentary gymnastics,” she said, Military Times reported. “If it does come to a draft, men and women should be treated equally.”

Committee members voted 33 to 28, mostly voting down party lines.

Last year, House committee members approved a measure to make the draft gender neutral, but it was later dropped. The Senate supported the draft for women, but dropped it during budget considerations.