Pelosi Floor Speech Opposing Anti-Transgender Servicemember Amendment

Jul 13, 2017
Press Release

Contact: Ashley Etienne/Caroline Behringer, 202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives to express opposition to Rep. Hartzler’s anti-transgender servicemember amendment.  All House Democrats joined 24 Republicans in defeating the amendment by a vote of 214-209.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:
Leader Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I thank him for his extraordinary leadership as our Ranking Member on the Armed Services Committee.  I thank him for his leadership in trying to help define what our security mission is so that we have the resources that are necessary to honor our oath of office to protect and defend. 

To Mr. Thornberry as well, thank you for your leadership in the defense of our country.  The bipartisanship in defending our country is something that we value.  Any interference with that is unfortunate.

It takes a special kind of person, my colleagues, who steps forward to serve in the U.S. military.  They are men and women of courage, of strength, and of patriotism who shoulder the burden of defending our liberties so that the rest of us can live in security and freedom.  We owe these heroes an immense debt, a solemn responsibility to do everything we can to defend those who are risking and giving their lives for the United States of America.

The Defense Bill before us today should be about honoring that responsibility, protecting those who protect our national security.  Instead, here we are considering a Republican amendment purposely built to attack the health and dignity of thousands of men and women serving with honor and courage today. 

Make no mistake, the effect and the intent of this unjust and mean-spirited amendment is to ban patriotic Americans from serving our country.  It is designed to drum transgender servicemembers out of the military.  Instead of protecting the men and women who risk their lives to defend our freedoms, they are fighting to rip away the health care of thousands of brave servicemembers. 

The integration of openly transgender service members into our armed forces is the unfinished work of the bipartisan, bipartisan -- and I commend our colleagues' efforts, to repeal the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.  I call on my Republican colleagues to immediately withdraw this cruel, discriminatory and appalling amendment.

If not, I call upon all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to defeat this amendment, prevent this assault on transgender servicemembers and get us back to the subject at hand which is the defense of our country which the distinguished Chairman Thornberry and Ranking Member that serve this country and Congress so well in doing. 

With that I yield back the balance of my time. 

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