Following a heated debate, the Senate has postponed its vote on proposed legislation to curb sexual assault in the military.
The Military Justice Improvement Act was introduced in Congress as a way to improve the handling of sexual assault, abuse and discrimination in the military community. If passed, the bill would amend title 10 of the United States Code, which leaves the charging of sexual assault crimes up to military commanders under the current Uniform Code of Military Justice. While the bill was debated during the Senate's session last week as part of the discussion on the National Defense Authorization Act, The Huffington Post reported that the Senate went to Thanksgiving recess without voting on the legislation.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). Both Sen. Gillibrand and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) sit on the Senate Armed Services Committee and are looking to reform the way in which sexual assaults on military members are reported, charged and convicted, Mother Jones reported. Currently, military commanders have the final say whether a perpetrator of a sexual assault is charged, while commanding officers can overturn any sexual assault conviction.
More than 50 senators currently support the bill, including Sen. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Al Franken, The Huffington Post reported. The news source added that the Senate will take up the legislation following the Thanksgiving break.