GOP senator threatens to block women from serving in combat

Jim Inhofe says he would introduce legislation to "stop any changes we believe to be detrimental" to the military

Topics: Pentagon, James Inhofe, Oklahoma, U.S. Military, women in combat, women in the military,

Earlier this week, the Pentagon announced that it will lift the military ban on women serving in combat. This did not go over well among conservatives. But now one Republican senator is taking it to the next level, threatening to block the move with legislation.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said Thursday in a statement:

“But I want everyone to know that the Senate Armed Services Committee, of which I am the Ranking Member, will have a period to provide oversight and review.  During that time, if necessary, we will be able to introduce legislation to stop any changes we believe to be detrimental to our fighting forces and their capabilities.  I suspect there will be cases where legislation becomes necessary.”

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He also said: “Because that policy has worked so well for so long, I am concerned about the potential impacts of completely ending this policy.”

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who stepped down as the ranking Republican on the committee after the last session of Congress, welcomed the move: “I respect and support Secretary [Leon] Panetta’s decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat,” he wrote on Wednesday. “As this new rule is implemented, it is critical that we maintain the same high standards that have made the American military the most feared and admired fighting force in the world — particularly the rigorous physical standards for our elite special forces units.”

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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