The House Armed Services Committee may have passed an amendment to the fiscal 2017 defense policy bill requiring women to sign up for the draft, but debate on the controversial measure is far from over.
Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, introduced an amendment to the bill to strike the language added by the committee that would require all 18- to 26-year-old women to register with the Selective Service.
The committee approved the amendment from Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., by a 32-30 vote late last month. Hunter voted against the proposal, saying he wanted to force Congress to speak on the issue, but didn't support drafting women.
The amendment from Sessions would eliminate that part of the bill and will be debated when the full House takes up the bill, likely next week.
The issue of whether women must register for the draft was raised this year when Defense Secretary Ash Carter formally lifted the ban on women serving in combat. A previous Supreme Court case ruled that women were excluded from the draft because they were excluded from combat, leading many to question what the change in rules meant for the Selective Service.
Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, included a provision in the House bill to require the Pentagon to report on whether a draft is even needed given that the country has been protected by an all-volunteer force for decades.
On the Senate side, John McCain, R-Ariz., and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he is leaning toward supporting Hunter's proposal. The Senate committee will mark up its version of the bill this week.