Congress still sending mixed signals on women in the draft
WASHINGTON — Despite key votes in Congress, it remained unclear Friday whether the United States is closer to an historic move requiring women to register for the military draft.
The Senate was wrapping up an annual defense bill that calls for opening the Selective Service to women despite opposition from some conservative lawmakers. Meanwhile, the House reached an opposite outcome in May when Republicans successfully blocked a measure integrating the draft.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle cried foul, claiming the issue did not get adequate debate. Now, as Congress pushes ahead with its annual defense budget, the House and Senate face brokering a compromise between lawmakers who are deeply divided over requiring women between 18-25 years old to register with Selective Service -- and potentially forcing them to the front lines of future wars.
“I am the father of two daughters. Women can do anything they put their minds to … But the idea that we should forcibly conscript young girls into combat to my mind makes little to no sense,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. “I could not vote for a bill that did so, particularly a bill that did so without public debate.”
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