House votes to end draft registration PDF Print E-mail
FOR RELEASE: September 9, 1999

House votes to end draft registration Majority agrees with Paul that Selective Service should end

WASHINGTON, DC -- The House of Representatives voted Wednesday night to terminate the Selective Service System, saving taxpayers $250 million over the next 10 years while ending the "systematic abuse of the civil liberties" of millions of Americans. The vote was 232 to 187.
"Not only is the notion of involuntary servitude at odds with our system of law and tradition of liberty, but it is not in keeping with the needs and demands of a 21st Century defense program," said US Rep. Ron Paul (R, Texas), who championed the cause to end the Selective Service program. He introduced HR 1812, the Selective Service Stand-by Act. The measure would have put the system into a deep hibernation, while transferring the funds to veterans programs.
"I'm pleased my colleagues in Congress have sided with me in saying that the time to end the draft is long overdue. Under the misguided rhetoric of national defense, our nation has for far too long acted in a manner contrary to liberty; it is illogical to assume one can protect liberty by violating it."
Rep. Paul said the inconsistency of the program was brought closer to home just prior to his grandson's 18th birthday. His grandson received a card in the mail from Selective Service reminding him to register.
"By sending him the card, the government demonstrated that even without registering they knew who he was, how old he was and where he was. Selective Service is a needless program."
The bipartisan vote was to defeat an amendment to the Veterans Administration/HUD appropriation package that would have restored full funding to the Selective Service program, funding that was removed by the legislation.
Besides saving several hundred million dollars, Members of Congress recognized the wisdom of such men as the late US Senator Robert Taft and former President Ronald Reagan.
Senator Taft once said, "A compulsory draft ... is far more typical of totalitarian nations than of democratic nations. The theory behind it leads directly to totalitarianism. It is absolutely opposed to the principles of individual liberty."
President Reagan said, "[T]he most fundamental objection to draft registration is moral... a draft or draft registration destroys the very values that our society is committed to defending."
In addition, a Department of Defense report found that Selective Service could be ended "with no effect on military mobilization requirements, little effect on the time it would take to mobilize, and no measurable effect on military recruitment."
Instead, Rep. Paul said, military recruitment and retention would be greatly improved by ending the practice of putting American troops in harms' way when there is no national security interest at stake, while at the same time improving benefits and living up to commitments made to veterans.