Sen. John McCain has signed on to a bill that would thwart President Donald Trump's effort to ban transgender personnel from serving in the military.
The measure was introduced by Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Republican Sen. Susan Collins on Sept. 15, according to the Washington Examiner.
The bill would prohibit the Pentagon from expelling transgender people who currently serve in the military. The initiative follows a failed attempt to attach an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act blocking the ban.
"Any member of the military who meets the medical and readiness standards should be allowed to serve -- including those who are transgender," stated McCain, according to the Examiner.
McCain noted that the military needed more support.
"When less than 1 percent of Americans are volunteering to join the military, we should welcome all those who are willing and able to serve our country," he added, according to Reuters.
In August, Trump signed a memorandum ordering the military to cease providing gender-reassignment surgery to service members by March 2018 and shelve a plan to begin taking in transgender recruits.
Gillibrand is the ranking Democrat on the Armed Forces Personnel Sub-Committee.
"Thousands of brave transgender Americans love our country enough to risk their lives for it, fight for it, and even die for it, and Congress should honor them and let them serve," added Gillibrand, the Examiner reported. "Doing otherwise would only harm our readiness at a time when our military is deployed around the world in defense of our country."
The bill was welcomed by the Palm Center, an advocacy group for transgender military personnel.
"Today's stand-alone bill gives Congress another chance to protect the military's proud record in which service members, once welcomed and deemed fit to serve, are not cast aside for political reasons," said Aaron Belkin, the group's director.
As Gillibrand and Collins introduced their bill, the Pentagon announced that Defense Secretary James Mattis has ordered the creation of a panel of experts to implement Trump's directive.
The Pentagon must provide a plan of implementation to the White House by February. Transgender military personnel will be allowed to continue serving until then.
"Current transgender service members will continue to serve throughout the military and continue to receive necessary medical treatment as prescribed by their medical provider," Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning said, according to Reuters.
On Sept. 14, nine transgender military personnel currently engaged in a Washington-state lawsuit against the government asked a federal district court to block Trump and Mattis from putting the transgender ban in place until after their case is heard.