The Senate voted Tuesday to approve a defense bill that would for the first time in history require women to register for a potential military draft after they turn 18, as men do now. The National Defense Authorization Act passed in the Republican-led Senate 85-13, with seven Democrats and six Republicans voting against it.
Obama has warned that he would veto the bill, which also approves $602 billion in military spending, keeping the Guantanamo Bay prison open, and halting the Pentagon from closing several military bases around the world.
The House passed its own defense bill in May and will meet with the Senate to come up with a compromise between the two versions. The House's bill excluded the women draft requirement, but both chambers agreed on keeping Guantanamo open, against President Obama's wishes.
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Republicans are divided over the issue of women registering for the draft, The New York Times reports. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said, "The fact is, every single leader in this country, both men and women, members of the military leadership, believe that it's fair since we opened up all aspects of the military to women that they would also be registering for Selective Services."
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), however, voted against the bill. "I could not in good conscience vote to draft our daughters into the military, sending them off to war and forcing them into combat," he said.
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