FIRST ON FOX: Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., filed an amendment Monday in an attempt to prevent Democrats from requiring women to register for the military draft – something he says is out of step with the American public.
Senate Armed Services Chair Jack Reed, D-R.I., had proposed changing the National Defense Authorization Act’s language to require all “all Americans,” rather than males, register for the draft. The current proposal uses the gender neutral “person.”
FILE – IN this Jan 15, 2019 file photo, Senate Judiciary Committee committee member Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., questions Attorney General nominee William Barr during a Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
On Sunday, Hawley told Fox News he thought the idea was “so wrong and out of touch with most Americans.”
“Most Americans say if a woman wants to serve that’s wonderful – and by the way, women have been absolutely central to our war efforts since we have been a country, in many different ways, including of course fighting. But the idea that they be forced into compulsory service, I just think it’s crazy.”
“I know that’s how the people of Missouri feel. The fact that the Democrats – this is one of their top priorities for a bill that’s supposed to be about funding the military. What do they want to do? They want to force women to have to enter the draft.”
WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 28: Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) speaks during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan and plans for future counterterrorism operations on Capitol Hill on September 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images)
Requiring women’s registration has received bipartisan support in Congress, which mandated a commission that eventually backed the measure last year.
The 11-member commission concluded it was “a necessary and fair step, making it possible to draw on the talent of a unified Nation in a time of national emergency.”
U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 10th Mountain Division stand security at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021. (Sgt. Isaiah Campbell/U.S. Marine Corps via AP) (Sgt. Isaiah Campbell/U.S. Marine Corps via AP)
However, the idea has become less popular among Americans. In August, an Ipsos poll showed that 45% of Americans supported drafting women compared to 63% in 2016. Support also broke down along gender lines with men favoring the idea at 55% compared to just 36% among women.
The issue caught headlines in June when the Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to the decades-old requirement. In her opinion, Justice Sotomayor deferred to Congress but indicated that a male-only draft could be challenged as discriminatory.
“It remains to be seen, of course, whether Congress will end gender-based registration under the Military Selective Service Act,” she said. “But at least for now, the Court’s longstanding deference to Congress on matters of national defense and military affairs cautions against granting review while Congress actively weighs the issue.”