Representative Justin Amash, a self described fiscal conservative, and 23 other so-called Republicans joined together with Democrats to shoot down an amendment proposed by Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler that could potentially have saved upwards of $1.3 billion over the next decade by prohibiting the Pentagon from paying for surgeries and hormone therapy for mentally ill soldiers who are confused about what sex they are.
Voting along with all 190 Democrats present and Justin Amash were Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who has a transgender son, as well as anti-Trump moderate Carlos Curbelo and Planned Parenthood apologist John Katko.
Hartzler maintained the amendment was intended to focus the attention of the U.S. military on confronting the nation’s adversaries — such as North Korea, Russia and the Islamic State — instead of other tasks.
“We must confront these challenges by ensuring our defense dollars maximize the military’s readiness and lethality,” Hartlzer said. “That is why I’m offering an amendment to advance these goals by prohibiting taxpayer dollars from funding gender reassignment surgeries and related hormone therapy treatment for members of the military and their dependents.”
While the no votes from moderate and liberal members of the Republican caucus aren’t too surprising, especially given the media hysteria on all transgender related issues, it is the latest vote in Rep. Amash’s uncharacteristically un-conservative streak. Just last month, Amash was the only Republican ‘no’ vote against Kate’s Law, and one of the few Republican ‘no’ votes against the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act. He’s also been a leading critic of the Trump administration in the Republican Party.
Amash has already been put on notice for his anti-Trump rhetoric with White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino tweeting earlier this year that Amash was a “big liability” and that he should be targeted for defeat in 2018 by another Republican. It will be interesting to see if a true fiscal conservative steps up to the plate to challenge Amash in the next few months.