Women could have to register for the military draft under Democratic bill: Report
Some Senate Democrats are reportedly looking to require women to register for the military draft.
A component attached to the National Defense Authorization Act would strike male exclusivity from the Selective Service System and update diction to include “All Americans,” according to a draft of the bill.
The bill is expected to go through a similar mark-up process before its final passage later in 2021, as the National Defense Authorization Act is considered a “must-pass” piece of legislation.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed, the bill’s author, has championed making women eligible for the draft in recent years, and the idea has garnered bipartisan support.
In 2016, the prospect of including women in the draft escalated into a heated debate.
Then-Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain led a group of bipartisan members to strip the male requirement. Five of the Republican committee members who agreed with the change are still on the committee, including Sens. Deb Fischer, Joni Ernst, Thom Tillis, Dan Sullivan, and Lindsey Graham.
The House Armed Services Committee similarly attempted to lift the exclusivity. It removed the gendered language in 2020, though it was dropped from the draft before former President Donald Trump signed it into law. In deciding to drop the requirement, the committee delegated an independent commission to study its implications.
“This is a necessary and fair step, making it possible to draw on the talent of a unified nation in a time of national emergency,” the commission wrote in the 2020 final report.
Women have been excluded from the Selective Service since its inception in 1940, which requires U.S. men to register when they turn 18. Those who fail to register can face penalties such as fines, prisons, and loss of tuition scholarships.