An amendment that would have forbid U.S. Armed Forces from spending federal funding to recruit young people for military service through live-streaming platforms such as Twitch or other esports activities, was defeated by the House Thursday evening. The final vote was 292-126 against the amendment, with 13 members not voting. The amendment to House appropriations bill H.R. 7617 was put forward by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on July 22, along with a separate amendment seeking to halt recruiting activities at public schools.
In a speech in support of her amendment on the floor of the House Thursday afternoon, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez emphasized that this was all about curtailing recruitment efforts:
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) July 30, 2020
The Army, Navy, Air Force, and National Guard have a presence in esports through sponsorships and partnerships, and some through esports teams composed of active-duty personnel. The U.S. Marines Corp. and the Coast Guard are the exceptions to the rule: In May representatives for the Marines told Military.com that it had no interest in “gamifying” its serious approach to recruitment.
In 2020, the Army signed deals with Complexity Gaming, Call of Duty League, and Chicago Huntsmen, while the Army National Guard partnered with World of Warcraft guild Complexity-Limit in April. The U.S. Navy has signed deals this year with DreamHack and ESL, Twitch and DBLTAP, and partnered with Evil Geniuses to train its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive squad.
Bill H.R. 7617 will head to the U.S. Senate once all amendments are finalized and the bill is voted on by the full House.