On a sunny day in the Capitol Hill chambers of Congress, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, “This is an historic day in our country.
And I want to thank the president for standing up to the extremists.”
But as the Senate’s votes came in, Pelosi said: “We are here today to say to the president: Thank you for standing strong against this threat to our nation.”
In the Senate, Republicans said they voted against an amendment to a defense bill that would give a waiver to the military to allow transgender people to serve openly.
That bill was the only one to pass.
The House passed the waiver amendment and passed the Defense Authorization Act that would allow it to go into effect.
And Democrats said the president is right to use his power to lift the ban on transgender service.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do to make sure that we have the strongest possible protections for our troops and our servicemembers,” Pelosi said.
The White House has been trying to convince Congress that it will take action on transgender rights.
It’s been trying over the past several months to get the president to sign an executive order banning discrimination in housing and public accommodations on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.
On Tuesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the administration would not be signing an executive action until Congress has taken steps to repeal the executive order.
“The president has not taken any steps to eliminate the discriminatory rule in place for nearly three decades,” Earnest told reporters.
Trump has repeatedly promised to repeal it.
On Wednesday, the president said the ban would not affect transgender Americans who served in the military.
He said the Pentagon was still trying to determine the impact of the executive action on the military and how the Pentagon would respond.
“There is a lot we don’t know,” he said, without offering details.
The Pentagon issued a statement saying the ban “is not retroactive to the date of its enactment.”
It said the Department of Defense would continue to protect transgender individuals from discrimination in the workplace and the military, and that the military would continue its commitment to provide the best possible care for all service members.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook