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Secretary Panetta lifts the “ground combat exclusion”


National Women's Law Center
  Join Us in Thanking Secretary of Defense Panetta  
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They told us we couldn’t vote, because we didn’t understand politics.

They told us we couldn’t play sports, because we couldn’t compete.

They told us we couldn’t fight, because women aren’t fit for combat.

We proved them wrong. And now those days are over…

Last week we bore witness to a historic event: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s decision toopened wide the doors of opportunity to women in the Armed Services and eliminated the last vestige of government-sanctioned sex discrimination in the United States.

Please join us in thanking Secretary Panetta for lifting the ground combat exclusion and opening opportunities for women to serve the United States in all military occupations.

The wars of the 21st century have no clear-cut front lines: For years, women have been performing superbly in a broad range of vital military occupations, including unofficially in ground combat, risking injury and death to serve our country. Secretary Panetta’s historic announcement reflects this reality. It also confirms that to be successful, a modern military must have access to the best and brightest, men and women.

This decision was the result of long, hard work.

For the Center, this decision is the culmination of years of work. In the early 1990s, our analysis of gender-stereotyped limitations and our advocacy efforts helped secure congressional legislation and Defense Department policies that opened 260,000 military positions to women, including on combat ships and in combat aircraft.

Since then we’ve had to beat back efforts by some in Congress to restrict women’s military service, and we’ve worked hard to educate the public and policymakers about the important military roles women are performing and how well they are performing them, including in combat. We also worked with Defense Department advisory committees and met with Pentagon officials to advance recommendations and press for opening all military positions to women. In 2010, submarine service was opened to women, and in 2012 approximately 14,000 additional positions were opened, both precursors of last week’s momentous decision to lift all restrictions on women’s military service.

Now, if the best person for the job is a woman, she will no longer be barred from that job simply because of her gender. As President Obama said in his inaugural address, “our journey is not complete,” but we have just passed a significant milepost along the way.

Please join us in sending thanks to Secretary Panetta.

CONGRESS: the House :::::: the Senate


the Senate Convenes: 10:00amET January 29,2013

  • Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will be in a period of morning business until 12:30pm with Senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each with the Majority controlling the first 30 minutes and the Republicans controlling the second 30 minutes.
  • The Senate will recess from 12:30pm until 2:15pm to allow for the weekly caucus meetings.
  • We anticipate the Foreign Relations Committee will report out Senator Kerry’s nomination and expect full Senate consideration during Tuesday’s session.

At 2:15pm today, the Senate will turn to Executive Session to consider Executive Calendar #1, the nomination of John Kerry, of Massachusetts, to be Secretary of State. There will be 2 hours for debate equally divided and controlled in the usual form. Upon the use or yielding back of time the Senate will proceed to vote on confirmation of the nomination.

If all time is used, the vote would begin around 4:15pm today.

4:03pm The Senate began a roll call vote on confirmation of Executive Calendar #1, the nomination of John Forbes Kerry, of Massachusetts, to be Secretary of State

4:03pm The Senate began a roll call vote on confirmation of Executive Calendar #1, the nomination of John Forbes Kerry, of Massachusetts, to be Secretary of State; Confirmed: 94-3-1 (present)



1) Confirmation of Executive Calendar #1, the nomination of John F. Kerry, of Massachusetts, to be Secretary of State; Confirmed: 94-3-1


Discharged the Judiciary Committee and adopted S.Res.14, Raising awareness and encouraging prevention of stalking by designating January 2013 as “National Stalking Awareness Month”.

Adopted S.Res.20, Designating Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Began the Rule 14 process of S.177, To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 entirely. (Cruz)

Completed the Rule 14 process of S.164, to prohibit the United States from providing financial assistance to Pakistan until Dr. Shakil Afridi is freed. (Paul)



Watch Most Recent House Floor Activity

The next meeting is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on January 29, 2013.