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This week in Washington: Transgender troops, Census citizenship and North Korea

Bennet, Gardner weigh in on policy issues
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said qualified Americans should be allowed to serve in the military, regardless of whether they are transgender.

Congress kicked off a two-week Easter recess this week after passing a $1.3 trillion spending bill late last week, funding the government through the end of September.

The Trump administration took action on a variety of controversial issues this week. On March 24, the administration imposed a ban on transgender troops in the military, removing from service transgender troops “diagnosed with gender dysphoria – individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery.”

Sen. Michael Bennet was unhappy with the decision.

“Our commander-in-chief should not ban Americans who are qualified to serve in our military and willing to risk their lives for our country,” Bennet tweeted Monday.

My staff and I are safe, please continue to pray for our nation.

The events unfolding at the Capitol are outrageous. We will not tolerate anarchy in this country. pic.twitter.com/RFXmeYh4qS

— Congressman Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) January 6, 2021 ]]>
Census citizenship

The Trump administration also announced the 2020 census will include a question on immigration status, sparking concern among critics that census numbers will be inaccurate because some people won’t respond to the census.

The Friday before Trump made the announcement, Bennet introduced a bill with colleagues to prevent the administration from including the citizenship question.


“The federal Census is a Constitutionally-mandated, non-partisan process by which every person in this country counts,” Bennet said in a statement last week. “Politicizing this tool will have severe consequences for immigrant communities in our country. We should be working to make this process more transparent and accurate, not using scare tactics to prevent people from participating.”

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, haven’t made any public statements on the transgender troop ban and census.

North Korea

Gardner, a leading senator on North Korea policy, continued his calls for economic pressure on North Korea this week.

Earlier in the week, Kim Jung-Un had a secret meeting with the Chinese president, a country that is responsible for over 90 percent of trade with North Korea.

“China must continue to move beyond mere articulation of concern and fully support the global maximum pressure campaign on North Korea to completely, verifiably, and irreversibly denuclearize this outlaw regime,” Gardner tweeted Wednesday.

1776 is the foundation of our country. Today I signed my name to a document to defend that foundation and our freedom.

The violence we saw today is inexcusable. Pray for America. pic.twitter.com/Y4ELkxJHGr

— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) January 6, 2021 ]]>

Gardner, the chairman of the subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, has been vocal in advocating that North Korea must fully denuclearize.


“If North Korea wants sanctions relief, they know what to do,” Gardner tweeted Monday. “Live up to the promise of denuclearization. Until then, maximum pressure will continue.”


Both Bennet and Gardner were in Colorado this week. On Thursday, Bennet held town halls in Gunnison and Salida, while Gardner met with officials in Mineral, Rio Grande, Conejos, Costilla and Alamosa Counties.

Andrew Eversden is an intern for The Durango Herald and a student at American University in Washington, D.C.

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