Senators rushed to introduce legislation addressing sexual assault in the military after the Pentagon released a report in May that nearly 26,000 military service members were victims of sexual assault during the previous year. The Armed Services Committee will be considering measures addressing the issue on Wednesday.
Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDem 2020 hopefuls lead pack in opposing Trump Cabinet picks Sanders, not Trump, is the real working-class hero Dem senator predicts Gorsuch will be confirmed MORE (D-N.Y.) called for a plan that would have removed senior military officials from the sexual assault reporting process, but some members of the Senate Armed Services Committee — including McCaskill — weren’t convinced that completely changing the military code of justice was the best reform.
Sens. Patty MurrayPatty MurrayWho is Labor pick Alexander Acosta? A guide to the committees: Senate Overnight Healthcare: Trump officials weigh fate of birth control mandate | House, DOJ seek delay in ObamaCare lawsuit MORE (D-Wash.) and Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteLewandowski saw no evidence of voter fraud in New Hampshire NH governor 'not aware’ of major voter fraud Former NH AG: 'Allegations of voter fraud in NH are baseless' MORE (R-N.H.) introduced another bill that would have created a special victims unit within the military to help victims through the existing reporting process, among other things.
McCaskill said the Armed Services Committee would be discussing a plan that differs from Gillibrand’s. Chairman Carl LevinCarl LevinA package proposal for repatriation Silencing of Warren another example of hyperpartisan Senate GOP going nuclear over Gorsuch might destroy filibuster forever MORE (D-Mich.) has proposed an alternative.
McCaskill added that Levin's alternative would be an improvement from Gillibrand’s bill because it would also make it a crime to retaliate against military sexual assault victims who report the wrongdoing.
“I believe these reforms will do a better job of getting predators behind bars and ultimately creating a more supportive environment for victims to come forward,” McCaskill said. “If more changes are necessary, I will be the first in line to work for them. ... Any coward who besmirches the pride of our military by committing a sexual assault should go to prison and that is what will happen under these provisions.”