Lawmakers drop proposal to add women to the draft

Compromise defense policy legislation set to be filed Monday will not require women to register for a military draft, according to two people with knowledge of the negotiations, a stunning turnaround after the change gained bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

Leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees left the provision out of the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act, despite the fact that both chambers’ bills would have expanded the Selective Service System beyond men.

The move is a victory for conservatives who fought to strip the provision. Those attempts had come up short because lawmakers from both parties supported including women in the draft. Expanding Selective Service has gained momentum since all combat roles in the military were opened to women.

The move to include women in the draft was opposed by the top House and Senate Armed Services Republicans, Rep. Mike Rogers and Sen. Jim Inhofe, as well as vocal conservatives such as Sen. Josh Hawley.

One of the people with knowledge of the move said the provision was stripped as a tradeoff so Republicans would accept reforms to the military justice system regarding how sexual assault cases are handled.


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