April 14, 2021

Wyden, Paul, DeFazio, Davis Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Abolish the Selective Service

With No Draft Since 1973, Selective Service Costs $25 Million in Taxpayer Dollars Per Year to Upkeep

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., and U.S. Representatives Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and Rodney Davis, R-Ill., today introduced a bicameral, bipartisan bill to end the Selective Service.

“The Selective Service has far outlived its expiration date, wasting millions of taxpayer dollars per year to prepare for a draft is no longer relevant to our military,” Wyden said. “Congress hasn’t come close to reinstating a military draft in 50 years, and I can’t imagine a scenario where it would. With the success of our all-volunteer force, this arcane system, which disproportionately harms disadvantaged young men, should be officially abolished, once and for all.”

“It has been nearly 50 years since the draft was last used. I’ve long stated that if a war is worth fighting, Congress will vote to declare it and people will volunteer. This outdated government program no longer serves a purpose and should be eliminated permanently,” said Dr. Paul.

“No young person, regardless of gender, should be subject to a military draft or be forced to register for a draft in the United States. The military draft registration system is an unnecessary, wasteful bureaucracy which unconstitutionally violates Americans’ civil liberties and unfairly subjects individuals who fail to register for the draft to unnecessarily severe, lifelong penalties – penalties which disproportionately affect low-income Americans. We should be abolishing military draft registration altogether, not expanding it, which is why I’m proud to reintroduce the Selective Service Repeal Act in the House,” DeFazio said. 

“The last time the Selective Service System was used was nearly a half century ago, yet taxpayers are shelling out $25-million dollars a year to operate an agency that doesn’t even maintain an accurate count of citizens who are of service-age or enforce federal law requiring registration upon turning eighteen years old,” said Rep. Davis. “This is not a responsible use of taxpayer dollars, particularly as our nation has been defended by an all-volunteer military since the Vietnam War. This legislation is just one small step we can take to eliminate an outdated and ineffective federal bureaucracy, saving taxpayer dollars in the process.” 

The Selective Service runs an annual budget of more than $25 million per year, preparing for a draft that has not occurred since 1973.

Friends Committee on National Legislation, Center on Conscience & War, World BEYOND War, RootsAction.org, CODEPINK, Truth in Recruitment, the Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild and American Friends Service Committee, Just Foreign Policy, Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (COMD) and Pax Christi USA have endorsed this bill.

Reps. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Calif., Thomas Massie, R-Ky., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., have also co-sponsored this bill.

A copy of the bill text is available here.