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Military Sexual Assault Bill Runs Into Obstacles On Armed Services Committee

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of N.Y.
Susan Walsh
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of N.Y.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has gained bipartisan support for her bill to overhaul how the military handles sexual assault cases. Now, it faces pushback from the leaders of the Armed Services Committee.

The reforms would take sexual assault cases and other serious crimes out of the chain of command to be handled instead by independent military prosecutors. Gillibrand tried last month to force a quick floor vote, skipping over hearings in the Armed Services Committee, where she herself is a member.

That move was blocked by committee chairman and Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed and ranking member James Inhofe of Oklahoma, both Army veterans.

Gillibrand told the New York Times the two senators are against the bill and want “to kill it.” While Inhofe does oppose it, Reed said he’s open to change but the bill is too broad and should be debated.

Desiree reports on the lives of military service members, veterans, and their families for WSHU as part of the American Homefront project. Born and raised in Connecticut, she now calls Long Island home.