The Senate on Tuesday passed a sweeping defense policy bill that includes among its many Pentagon reforms a provision requiring women to register for the draft.
The Senate approved the National Defense Authorization Act 85-13, but some Republicans voted against it because it contained the requirement to register women with the Selective Service System. The proposal was not considered on the Senate floor, since it was included in the bill that emerged from the Armed Services Committee.
But the issue loomed large over the final vote. Heritage Action, the conservative advocacy arm of The Heritage Foundation, deemed the defense policy bill a “key vote” that would count on its annual lawmaker scorecards because of the draft language.
“It is a radical change that is attempting to be foisted on the American people,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said. “The idea that we should forcibly conscript young girls into combat, to my mind, makes little or no sense. It is at a minimum a radical proposition. I could not vote for a bill that did so, particularly that did so without public debate.”
In all, Republicans voted 48-6 on the bill, which authorizes $602 billion in defense spending for the new 2017 fiscal year. Democrats voted 37-7.