Hopefully, the influence of the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee will carry some weight in the fight against Trump’s declared ban on transgender service members. Declaring the armed forces should “welcome those who are willing and able to serve our country,” McCain (R – Ariz.) has added his name to a proposed bipartisan measure in opposition of the ban. In spite of support from the top dogs on both sides of the aisle as well as other members of the committee, it remains unclear whether the bill will proceed to a full vote in the Senate.
Also pushing for approval of the measure are Jack Reed (D – R.I.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, and committee members Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). The underlying message behind the bill is the belief that anyone who can meet medical and readiness standards should be allowed to serve.
McCain’s support of the bill, which would cut short the amount of time Defense Secretary Mattis has been given to complete his study on the issue, adds an air of both urgency and legitimacy to the issue. A ranking Republican in the senate – one whose own military service has been lauded nationwide, no less – supporting the cause is indeed worthy of note, if not of outright celebration.