Providing for Consideration of H.R. National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017

Floor Speech

Date: May 17, 2016
Location: Washington, DC


Ms. TSONGAS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak against this rule that repeals a provision that was added to the NDAA, the National Defense Authorization Act, after a bipartisan, recorded vote in committee which expands the Selective Service System to include women. That provision was in line with the Secretary of Defense's decision to eliminate the ban on women serving in direct ground combat positions and the recognition that women are much needed across all aspects of military capability.

This rule precludes Congress from having an open and transparent debate about this very important issue that impacts women's equality. If we want a full hearing, is there no better place than on the floor of this House? This rule would prevent that.

Gender equality is achieved when women and men enjoy the same rights, opportunities, and responsibilities across all sectors of society, including military service, and when the abilities, aspirations, and talents of women and men are equally valued. Including women in the draft is a step toward that equality.


Ms. TSONGAS. Mr. Speaker, this position is shared by both Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley and Marine Commandant Robert Neller.

I urge my colleagues to reject this rule that denies the current reality of military service, limits gender equality, ignores a bipartisan vote, and does not allow for an open and transparent debate on the floor of the House.