On Wednesday, at a meeting of the House Armed Services Committee, one Southern Republican congresswoman decided she’d had enough of the “social experimentation” going on in the military. Representative Vicky Hartzler of Missouri’s 4th District was so alarmed by last year’s policy statement from the Pentagon on transgender service members — that they could not be discharged for serving openly, and that there would be a plan to allow enlistment for transgender military hopefuls — that she brought it up in a big way. Hartzler proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would require the immediate discharge of such members.
The NDAA is, of course, the funding that keeps the military running.
Hartzler withdrew her amendment after it was discussed at the Committee meeting, but with the stipulation that the military address the issue itself — or she once again would. And she promised to do it when the NDAA actually came to the floor of the House, in effect holding military funding hostage to her demand that transgender soldiers be kicked out:
…with the understanding and plea to Secretary Mattis to take the steps to restore readiness and make sure we don’t waste precious tax dollars; and if that doesn’t happen, understand that we need to take action once this gets on the floor.”
The “precious tax dollars” Hartzler referred to would be “wasted” on surgeries for transgender soldiers, she worried. She even threw out a phenomenally ridiculous amount — $1.35 billion — that she somehow thought it would cost. According to the Rand Corporation, which studied the effects of last June’s new Pentagon policy, less than a tenth of one percent of soldiers would even seek such treatment. And even if every single one of them did, the maximum estimate for the cost to the military was less than $10 million. Hartzler has yet to reveal the source that claims the cost would be 135 times higher than even the most liberal estimate.
Thursday, she took her concerns to the next level. Hartzler called in to the radio show of Tony Perkins, the head of the (virulently anti-LGBT religious extremist group) Family Research Council:
At a time when we should be focusing on the threats from North Korea, and Putin, and ISIS, we’re having to deal with a threat here at home — a domestic threat — of allowing transgenders [sic] in our service, which is a real problem because it impacts their readiness, and it’s a huge cost for our military.”
That’s right. A member of the United States Congress just compared transgender soldiers to dictators and terrorists.
Maybe I should just stop being surprised at these disgusting, shameless Republicans.
Featured image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images