- Associated Press - Thursday, July 13, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on the House’s consideration of the defense policy bill for the 2018 fiscal year (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

The GOP-led House has narrowly rejected a measure that would have forbid the Pentagon from paying for gender transition surgeries and hormone therapy.

Lawmakers voted 214-209 against Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler’s amendment to the annual defense policy bill.

Democrats criticized the proposal as bigoted, unconstitutional and cowardly.

Her proposal would have prohibited defense dollars from being spent by the military’s health care system for medical treatment related to gender transition.

Hartzler cast her proposal as a good government plan aimed at assuring money is spent only on critical national defense needs.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called the amendment an attack on the health and dignity of thousands of U.S. service members.

Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said Hartzler intended to “politically denigrate” transgender troops.


1:20 p.m.

The House is set to consider a Republican-backed measure that would stop the Pentagon from paying for U.S. service members to undergo gender transition surgeries.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi decried the proposed amendment to the annual defense policy bill as mean-spirited and discriminatory.

The amendment’s author, Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, says she wants to ensure the military’s budget is spent on threats facing the country. Her measure bars money from being spent by the military’s health care system on gender reassignment surgery and hormone therapy.

Transgender service members have been able to serve openly since last year, when the Pentagon ended a ban. A Rand Corp. study found that there are between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender service members in the active-duty military.

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