Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Thursday celebrated House passage of the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, and said the vote fulfills an important election promise for Republicans.
“Today is a great day for America, for fairness, for families, and most importantly, for female athletes,” McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters. “House Republicans pledged before the last election their commitment to America to protect women and girls in sports. Today, we kept that promise.”
The House passed the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, introduced by Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., on a 219-203 vote, without any Democrat support.
President Biden has vowed to veto the bill, which would prevent biological males from participating in women’s sports at schools across the country.
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After the vote, McCarthy slammed his Democratic colleagues for not standing up for young women.
“I believe that’s wrong,” he said. McCarthy said women and girls have been “forced to compete against biological men.”
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“They watched their peers lose out on opportunities they deserved as well,” he said, pointing to women who “spoke out for equal opportunity, for privacy, for safety, for truth, for everything the previous generations of women who fought hard for Title IX.”
“They are the current champions of those women 50 years ago who fought for equality, fought for fairness in sports,” McCarthy said.
House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., also celebrated the passage of the bill.
“The left’s lunacy is robbing women and girls of equal opportunities in the name of inclusion,” Emmer said. “That’s why House Republicans today passed this bill to protect the safety and fairness that we should have in women’s sports and to make sure that no female athlete is ever forced to compete against a biological male.”
House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., also applauded Republicans for taking “a stand for fairness” and for protecting “the future of women’s sports from being diminished by the radical gender fluidity agenda.”
“Our daughters should not be forced to compete against biological men in competitive sports,” she said, adding that the bill will help ensure that children “have an even playing field in competitive sports, so our daughters will grow up in a generation where their hard work and dedication pays off in competition.”
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., said the intention of Title IX was “to create more opportunities for women to compete in sports, and yet it undermines the very fabric.”
“When you say a biological man can just play in a woman’s sport if they choose to… that just flies in the face of common sense,” he said. “We want women to be able to enjoy those same opportunities in sports, whether it’s at the high school level, the college level, or even the professional level.”
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Under Steube’s bill, educational institutions that receive Title IX funding from the federal government would not be allowed to “permit a person whose sex is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designed for women or girls.” The bill says the sex of an athlete would be recognized only by their “reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”
The bill will now move to the Democrat-controlled Senate, but the White House this week vowed to veto the bill.
“Schools, coaches, and athletic associations around the country are already working with families to develop participation rules that are fair and that take into account particular sports, grade levels, and levels of competition. As a national ban that does not account for competitiveness or grade level, H.R. 734 targets people for who they are and therefore is discriminatory,” it said of the bill.
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The statement accused Republicans of dictating a “one-size-fits-all requirement that forces coaches to remove kids from their teams,” and argued transgender youth across the country were already facing a mental health crisis.
It claimed such a law was “unnecessary,” and that it “hurts families and students.”
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“If the President were presented with H.R. 734, he would veto it,” it added.