New culture wars erupt in House over transgender issues

Democrats also see a political opportunity in forcing votes on the amendments.

Much of their strategy in 2016 is about painting the GOP as a reflection of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s derogatory rhetoric about women and minorities. Pushing amendments that forbid discrimination, and then watching Republicans fight over them, works to Democrats’ favor.

“I think we’re living in a new world of Donald Trump and a Republican Party that is driving itself further and further away from common sense and further toward a radical approach to government,” said Maloney, an openly gay Democrat who offered the amendments over the last few weeks prohibiting federal contractors from engaging in LGBT discrimination.

To Republicans, the fight has become a proxy battle over what they see as executive overreach. Fewer and fewer Republican lawmakers are backing amendments similar to the Peters and Maloney language. Sixty Republicans backed the Peters amendment in 2015. Only 43 supported identical language last week.