Republican Indiana Rep. Jim Banks called a clause in President Joe Biden’s executive order which reversed a policy prohibiting federally funded sex changes as ”radical and new territory for a presidential administration.”
“I’m compassionate toward those individuals who want to undergo an elective surgery of this nature, but taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook to pay for it,” Banks told The Washington Examiner on Wednesday.
Biden signed an executive order on Jan. 25 that overturned the Trump administration’s memorandum barring transgender people from joining the U.S. military. Under Biden’s order, military personnel can now have access to taxpayer-funded reassignment surgery as part of their medical benefits packages, according to the Examiner.
Biden cited the findings of a study by the Department of Defense (DOD), which found that “enabling transgender individuals to serve openly in the United States military would have only a minimal impact on military readiness and healthcare costs.”
Biden also criticized the study on which the Trump administration ban was predicated. “Rather than relying on the comprehensive study by a nonpartisan federally funded research center, the previous administration relied on a review that resulted in a policy that set unnecessary barriers to military service,” Biden wrote in the executive order.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin voiced his support for the president’s decision in January, writing in a statement, “This revised policy will also ensure all medically-necessary transition related care authorized by law is available to all Service members.”
The DOD spent $8 million to treat 1,500 transgender troops, including 161 reassignment surgeries, in the period from 2016 to 2019, according to USA Today.