Senate blocks Kirsten Gillibrand's military sexual assault bill

By Kyle Johnson,

Senate voted to block a military sexual assault bill put forth by New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Thursday.

The measure lacked enough support by either side and missed the needed 60 votes by only five, reports Bloomberg.

Gillbrand's measure sought to have sexual assault cases in the military investigated by independent prosecutors and remove commanding officers from being involved.

Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin said, "The evidence shows removing this authority from our commanders would weaken not strengthen, our response to this urgent problem."

Gillibrand argued that those who are assaulted find themselves worried about potential retaliation from those higher in the chain of command. "The people who don't trust the chain of command are the victims."

The senator added, "We know the deck is stacked against victims of sexual assault in the military, and today we saw the same in the halls of Congress."

According to the Los Angeles Times, senators voted in favor on a similar bill put forth by Sen. Claire McCaskill, who felt that commanders might lose their ability to control troops if they lacked authority in sexual assault cases.

image: By Office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons



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