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Politics Gillibrand, Collins unveil plan to block transgender ban

00:50  12 september  2017
00:50  12 september  2017 Source:   cnn.com

Mattis says current transgender troops can re-enlist, for now

  Mattis says current transgender troops can re-enlist, for now Transgender troops currently serving in the military will be allowed to re-enlist, the Pentagon said in a memo released to top military officials Friday, according to multiple news reports. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the department will continue to debate how to implement President Donald Trump’s call to ban transgender Americans from serving in the military, possibly seeking outside experts for guidance. But for now, those already serving will be allowed to re-enlist.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat (left) and Susan Collins, a Maine Republican.© Getty Images Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat (left) and Susan Collins, a Maine Republican.

A bipartisan pair of senators introduced an amendment Monday to try to reverse President Donald Trump's ban on transgender individuals serving in the military.

The amendment from New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins would prevent the military from kicking out transgender service members solely based on their gender identity, according to a copy of the language obtained by CNN.

The senators will try to get a vote on their proposal during consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act, the massive defense policy bill that's on the Senate floor this week. It's still unclear whether the measure will get a vote, as it's one of scores of proposed amendments to the defense bill.

John McCain Is Co-Sponsoring a Bill to Block President Trump's Transgender Military Ban

  John McCain Is Co-Sponsoring a Bill to Block President Trump's Transgender Military Ban Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona is co-sponsoring a new bill in support of transgender people serving in the military after President Donald Trump announced his transgender ban in July. Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona is co-sponsoring a new bill in support of transgender people serving in the military after President Donald Trump announced his transgender ban in July.

Trump declared that he was reinstating the ban on transgender individuals serving in the military on Twitter in July, which the Obama administration had ended in 2016.

But in the directive issued a month later, Trump stated that he would block any new recruits from joining while giving Defense Secretary James Mattis time to study the issue about what to do with transgender people serving openly in the military.

The directive called for Mattis to set up a panel of experts to study the issue and report back early next year.

Trump's call for banning transgender service members sparked criticism from Democrats and some Republicans, though it's not yet clear if the measure from Gillibrand and Collins can garner the 60 votes it likely will need to pass.

Transgender troops can re-enlist in military — for now

  Transgender troops can re-enlist in military — for now New guidance released Friday by the Pentagon makes it clear that any transgender troops currently in the military can re-enlist in the next several months, even as the department debates how broadly to enforce a ban on their service ordered by President Donald Trump. In a memo to top military leaders, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said a high-level panel will determine how to implement Trump's ban on transgender individuals in the military.

The amendment is the second the pair introduced on the transgender ban, and the new version is more narrow than the first, in what is likely an effort to try to attract more Republican support. The initial proposal also would have blocked the Pentagon from ending payments for the cost of transgender medical procedures.

The new amendment also directs Mattis to focus his study on the issue of new recruits, something he was in the process of considering when Trump announced his ban.

The Obama administration set up a process for the Pentagon to begin taking in new transgender recruits, and in June Mattis had said he needed six more months to study the impact of the move.

Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who is currently battling brain cancer, will lead debate on the NDAA on the Senate floor this week.

McCain said in a statement last month it would be "a step in the wrong direction" to discharge transgender individuals solely on the basis of gender identity, and the Pentagon should complete its study first before any decisions are made about new recruits.

Fate unclear for 900 DACA recipients in the military .
<p>Fewer than 900 people currently serving in the military now or who have signed contracts to serve benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, according to the Pentagon.</p>The Trump administration announced earlier this week that it will end the program, which affects roughly 800,000 immigrants who came to the U.S. without proper documentation as children. A Pentagon spokesman said the Department of Defense is coordinating with the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice about "any impact" the policy change may have.

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