Conservatives Secure Important Victory on National ‘Draft’

WASHINGTON- Earlier this year, House Republicans successfully removed a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have included America’s young women in a national military draft. Despite the House’s efforts, the “Draft our Daughters” provision was included in the Senate’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Fortunately, 17 Senate conservatives  signed a letter, championed by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) 97%, advocating opposition to any defense bill that included the  “Draft our Daughters” provision. The provision was ultimately removed during conference negotiations, marking an important win against the left’s radical agenda.  Heritage Action released the following statement from vice president Dan Holler:

“Leaders in Congress heeded the outcry of the American citizens and stood firm to remove the provision to Draft our Daughters from the National Defense Authorization Act. This is victory for  standing firm against the progressive social agenda and an achievement in protecting America’s daughters from being forced into the selective service.”

Earlier this year,  Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) 85% offered an amendment that was added to the FY17 Financial Services Appropriations bill to prohibit funding for the implementation of any such changes.  Adoption of the amendment ensured conservatives stayed on offense.  Heritage Action also applauded the 17 signers of the letter, led by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) demanding no inclusion of Draft our Daughters;  Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) 34%,
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) 51%,
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) 52%,
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) 67%,
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) 52%,
Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) 66%,
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 97%,
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) 79%,
Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) 41%,
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) 75%,
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) 100%,
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) 64%,
Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) 75%,
Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) 82%,
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) 80%,
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) 53%.

Additionally, Heritage Action criticized the conference report for failing to include the  Russell Amendment, which makes the religious exemptions under Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act apply to the contracting space by statute, in the NDAA. Heritage Action previously said:

“Even after enduring an electoral defeat, the Obama administration and its left-wing allies continue to use America’s military as a pawn to undermine religious liberty. The Russell Amendment simply reaffirms and reapplies longstanding federal protections of religious liberty. Republican conferees, including Chairmen John McCain (R-AZ) 51% and Mac Thornberry (R-TX) 55%, should not be intimidated by the Obama administration’s blatant attack on religious diversity. We should all fight to preserve the policies that have served our diverse nation well for more than half a century.”

Some have suggested the Obama administration’s excesses will be reversed shortly after January 20, 2017.  The Heritage Foundation’s Melanie Israel outlines the path forward for the Russell language come 2017:

“Though the outgoing administration has been eager to use executive action to discriminate against religious social service providers that interact with the government, President-elect Donald Trump has promised to defend religious liberty.

“As president, Trump can use executive authority to roll back the Obama administration’s abuse of executive authority.

“But executive orders alone are not sufficient: Ultimately, Americans need permanent protection from a hostile regulatory state. The incoming Congress should prioritize religious liberty and send Russell Amendment language to the president-elect’s desk, whether as an amendment to another bill or as stand-alone legislation.

“The amendment reflects the best of our traditions without taking anything away from anyone, and is a commonsense continuation of policy that has served our diverse society well since 1964.”