Two of the U.S. representatives from Kansas appear to be opposed to President Donald Trump’s proposal Wednesday to ban transgender people from the military, but they hold that the government should not pay for any transgender soldiers’ hormone treatments or surgeries.
U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder and a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, both Kansas Republicans, said in statements that they believe anyone who wants to serve in the military should be able to. Fellow Republican Rep. Roger Marshall, however, supported the proposal so long as generals recommended it.
“When it comes to military strategy and readiness, I trust our generals,” Marshall said in a statement. “The President made clear that this decision came after consultation from his generals, and I support them.”
Jenkins and Yoder split with Marshall.
“While Congresswoman Jenkins would like to see the actual proposal the President tweeted about, she has always believed that if you want to serve our nation and are qualified you should be able to serve,” Jenkins’ spokesman Michael Byerly said in a statement.
The two, however, voted for an amendment earlier this month that would prohibit the military from paying for therapies or surgeries for transgender troops. The amendment — sponsored by Vicky Hartzler, (R-Mo.) — failed 209-214. All of Kansas’ representatives voted in favor of the amendment.
“In an era where the United States depends on a voluntary fighting force to protect our freedoms, anyone who wants to serve our country should be able to,” Yoder said in a statement. “But I believe taxpayer dollars should not be spent on gender reassignment therapies or surgeries.”
Trump announced the ban Wednesday morning on Twitter, saying transgender people are costly for the military to take care of.
The announcement quickly drew the ire of civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union. Joshua Block, an attorney for the ACLU, said in a statement that there are no drawbacks associated with transgender people serving in the military.
“The president is trying to score cheap political points on the backs of military personnel who have put their lives on the line for their country,” Block said.
In his statement, Block said the ACLU is determining how to combat the ban.
Two studies from the RAND Corporation and the New England Journal of Medicine found that the cost of providing care to transgender troops would be minimal, but Hartzler said in a statement Wednesday that it would cost $1 billion over 10 years.