Can the GOP still stop women from having to register for the draft?

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Among the many pieces of legislation that Congress needs to figure out how to pass this year, one of the critical ones is the defense bill. It will keep our armed services in operation, make sure the troops get paid and take care of the many other expenses we incur by having the premier fighting force in the world. Unfortunately, it may not be quite as much of a slam dunk this year because the Democrats have slipped a poison pill into it. The current version of the bill includes a change to the draft registration process, making it mandatory for women to register for the first time. There is almost universal GOP opposition to this change, but could it actually wind up sinking the bill’s chances? Conversely, is there anything that Republicans could put on the table that would convince the Democrats to take it out? (Free Beacon)

Republican lawmakers and activists are making a final stand to halt the 2022 defense bill’s inclusion of women into future military drafts.

Lawmakers will vote this week on a measure offered by Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D., Pa.), which would expand the Selective Service requirement to include both men and women. Some Republicans fiercely opposed the move, saying it puts American women unnecessarily in the line of fire because the military already allows women to volunteer.

American Principles Project president Terry Schilling said it is “critical” for Republicans to come out against the measure as a bulwark against further politicization of the military.

The argument coming from the Democrats supporting this measure is that it’s needed to assure “equality” for women. That’s just a nonsensical argument as far as I’m concerned. If women were not offered the ability to enlist or were barred from significant types of duty you would have room to argue that unequal treatment is being dished out, but women are allowed to volunteer just like men can. And while I’m too old-fashioned to approve of it, they can also serve in combat roles. Nobody is being deprived of anything.

What women are actually being deprived of is the “opportunity” to be forcibly pushed into military service when they had no intention of enlisting. Is this the sort of “gift” that the Party of Women wants to present to generations of young girls? How the Democrats see this as a winning message in political terms is beyond me.

Of course, this is largely a moot point at present. Nobody has been drafted since 1973 and our all-volunteer military is doing just fine. In fact, the argument can easily be made that an all-volunteer force is of a higher quality than a conscripted force because nobody is there against their will. So is this really a hill worth dying on for the Republicans? (If you’ll pardon the use of the phrase in this context.)

That’s tough to say. Our military is definitely up to snuff today, but will it always be? Could the day come when there’s another major war and not enough young people feel the call to serve? If so, we might be back to the draft again and then you would see women being hauled off to boot camp. My own preference would be to see the language removed, but if the Democrats aren’t willing to negotiate, I’m not sure what options the Republicans have left in the bag. Not passing the defense bill simply isn’t an option. The results would be catastrophic almost immediately.

Sadly, the Democrats have chosen the correct bill to put this change into because it’s definitely an issue related to defense policy. This isn’t a case like the reconciliation bill where they’re trying to jam everything under the sun into it regardless if they are true appropriation items or not. They may be able to make a case in favor of this change and have it stick.

The only other alternative might be to allow the change to go through and then campaign on it in the midterms. That’s one way to find out exactly how many families out there want their daughters, sisters, and mothers carted off to war against their will. If you take back control of both chambers, you can reverse the change when the next defense bill comes up for consideration. What goes around, comes around, as the saying goes.