Most of us probably didn’t realize that the controversy over transgender athletes was a matter deserving Congressional action.

Should trans women be allowed to compete in women’s sports? Should trans men be allowed to compete in men’s sports? I assumed that the governing bodies of the sports would settle the matter.

But Republicans believe it is necessary to pass a federal law. They know the Senate won’t pass whatever law they write, so this is a symbolic gesture to their base, some of whom are terrified of trans people.

SPORTS BILL ADVANCES FOR FIRST TIME —Congressional Republicans are the closest they’ve ever been to passing legislation that would prohibit transgender women and girls from playing on sports teams that match their gender identity.

— The bill — H.R. 734 (118), the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023 — was introduced by Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) several times, but was taken up by the House Education and Workforce Committee for the first time last week in a 16-hour markup. It would amend Title IX, the federal education law that bars sex-based discrimination, to define sex as based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.

— The measure was recommended by the committee in a vote on party lines and is now primed for a vote on the House floor. While H.R. 5 (118), the Parents Bill of Rights Act, cleared the committee the same day and is slated for a vote in two weeks, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise’s office said they haven’t made any announcements on when they will take up the sports bill for a vote. House Republicans are expected to pass the bill with their slim majority, but it’s not likely that the Democrat-controlled Senate will allow the bill to move.

— The legislation will be a way for the GOP to force Democrats to go on record with their support for transgender students to play sports, a key part of the GOP’s 2022 midterm policy agenda. It is also a direct rebuke of the Biden administration’s proposed Title IX rule, which seeks to codify protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Education Department is expected to unveil its final rule in May, though it said it would make a separate rule for sports.