The House of Representatives on Thursday voted against the passage of an amendment spearheaded by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that would bar the United States military from recruiting via game streaming site Twitch.
Ocasio-Cortez brought the amendment to a vote as part of the H.R. 7617 Department of Defense Appropriations Act. The House voted to block the amendment, with 292 votes against compared to 126 in support of it.
The amendment came after a July 15 report in The Nation that detailed the military’s recruitment tactics on Twitch, which include unspecified gaming hardware giveaways. The Army, Navy, and Air Force each have their own esports teams that stream on Twitch, targeting viewers as young as 12 to sign up. The recruiters in question typically play Infinity Ward’s “Call of Duty” or Riot Games’ recently released first-person shooter “Valorant” on the streams as they answer questions from potential recruits live.
Ocasio-Cortez said the practice is predatory and should be banned. “War is not a game. The marine service… and issues associated with combat are too serious to be gamified in a responsible manner,” Ocasio-Cortez said during the session. Ocasio-Cortez classified Twitch and other live-streaming platforms as “populated with children well under the age of military recruitment rules; children as young as 12 can be targeted to fill out recruitment forms online,” and added that she believes “we should again restrain and restrict from explicit recruitment tactics” on such platforms.
Indiana Congressman Peter Visclovsky disagreed with Ocasio-Cortez’s assumption, and said during the hearing he believed the military should be allowed to recruit soldiers on numerous platforms.
“The United States military is a very special place,” Visclovsky said. “Only about 30% of young Americans between 17 and 24 are eligible to join the military. We ought to cast a very broad net to encourage young Americans to serve their country.”