Politics

Senate Democrats Propose Requiring Women To Register For Military Draft

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Senate Democrats are proposing a sweeping rewrite of the military draft laws aimed at requiring women to register for the Selective Service System, according to a draft authored by Senate Armed Services Chair Jack Reed and obtained by POLITICO.

The changes to Selective Service could be attached to the National Defense Authorization Act, a defense policy bill that’s one of the few pieces of legislation considered a “must-pass” by Congress. The move would reignite a contentious debate over whether women should be required to register for the draft, a move the House and Senate have each considered in recent years, though the change has never become law.

The language proposed by Reed (D-R. I.) would expand registration for the service to “All Americans,” striking explicit references to males. It’s expected to be considered during committee markup this week; floor action on the bill would wait until later this year. A spokesperson for Reed declined to comment.

Currently, law states that U. S. men must register for the service when they turn 18 for potential military conscription, though no one has been drafted into the military in more than four decades. Men who fail to register for the draft can be fined, imprisoned or denied federal jobs.

Calls to expand the draft to include women have grown in recent years, particularly after the Pentagon opened all combat roles to women in 2015. A congressionally-mandated commission that reviewed the draft also backed the change last year.

Multiple lawsuits have taken aim at the current draft law, alleging it’s unconstitutional. The Supreme Court in June declined to hear a case brought by the National Coalition for Men challenging the male-only draft.

Whether to include women in the draft became the subject of a marquee defense battle on Capitol Hill in 2016. The Sen… (Read more)

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