Lawmakers drop proposal to add women to the draft as defense bill headaches mount

It's likely to upset Democrats who are already on edge over what may not make the cut. The Congressional Black Caucus is threatening to oppose the bill in the House this week if it doesn't include provisions to combat extremists in the ranks.

The defense bill, which has become law each year for six decades, may become a vehicle for Democratic leaders to address the impending debt limit. GOP support for the legislation may be jeopardized if the military policy bill is linked to the federal borrowing limit.

Provisions that pass in both chambers are almost certain to become law in the final bill. One of the rare exceptions is the military draft expansion, which may have been sacrificed to get other provisions in the bill.

One of the people with knowledge of the move said that the provision was stripped as a trade-off so Republicans would accept reforms to the military justice system.

The move to include women in the draft was opposed by the top House and Senate armed services Republicans.

The Senate bill had a provision on expansion that was opposed by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who pushed for an amendment to remove it. The Senate was forced to scrap efforts to amend and pass its own version of the bill because of an impasse over amendments.

If the provision remains in the final bill, he will continue to insist on a vote on the Senate floor to strike it.

The removal of the requirement for women to register was celebrated by Rep. Hartzler. She said the move was "putting a woke ideology on our troops rather than meeting the current needs of our military."

Women aren't chess pieces in a political game. They are doctors, lawyers, engineers and already valuable members of the force. I am grateful to see reasonable minds join me in resisting this effort, and I applaud the removal of this unnecessary provision.

After the Pentagon opened all combat roles to women in 2015, calls to expand the draft beyond men have grown. The final report to Congress of the independent commission that reviewed the draft supported the change.

The defense bill did not include reining in presidential war powers.

The bill won't include repeals of the 2002 Iraq War or 1991 Gulf War, according to the chair of the Senate armed services. The Senate tried to get a vote on the bipartisan repeals, but failed.

Chuck Schumer promised a war powers vote on the floor this year, but time is tight for the Senate to vote on the measure offered by Tim Kaine and Todd Young.

Democratic leaders are considering tying the defense bill with efforts to address the debt limit.

That's a risky proposition, as Republicans could leave the NDAA over the debt limit. Democrats in charge of the House, Senate and White House have made it difficult for GOP lawmakers to support efforts to increase the country's borrowing limit.

Senate GOP leaders were cold on the defense-for-debt proposal.

Andrew Desiderio was involved in the report.