A divided Armed Services Committee backed the provision in a sweeping defense policy bill that the full House will consider next month, touching off a provocative debate about the role of women in the military. The panel also turned aside a measure backed by Democrats to punish the Citadel military college in South Carolina for flying the Confederate flag.
The United States has not had a military draft since 1973 in the Vietnam War era, but all men must register with the Selective Service System within 30 days of turning 18. Military leaders maintain that the all-volunteer force is working and the nation is not returning to the draft.
The 32-30 vote Wednesday night came with a twist: The proposal’s author didn’t back it.