Reid backs Gillibrand on military sexual assault bill
November 19th, 2013
04:14 PM ET
11 months ago

Reid backs Gillibrand on military sexual assault bill

(CNN) – Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, gained herself a powerful ally Tuesday on her amendment to combat military sexual assault.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, told reporters that he would be backing Gillibrand's bill to take prosecution of sexual assault in the military out of the chain of command, a divisive measure that has opponents and supporters on both sides of the aisle.

Some in the military and elsewhere oppose the measure, arguing that it would undermine a commander's ability to lead effectively.

Unlikely allies back effort to stop military sexual assaults

Reid's support of the Gillibrand bill puts him in opposition with fellow Democrat Sen. Carl Levin, the chair of the Armed Services Committee. Levin replaced an earlier provision by Gillibrand with one that would require prosecution decisions to be reviewed by more senior leaders and would make it a crime to retaliate against those who report assaults.

"People can disagree with my reasoning," Reid said, acknowledging that the committee did accomplish some things but "it can be improved."

Gillibrand says Levin's bill is not enough.

"Not all commanders will have the determination that we saw the military brass pledge in the last hearing," she said in July. "Not every commander is going to understand that rape is a serious, violent crime of domination, often not even related to dating or romance; more often related to dominance and violence and power."

Gillibrand is now pushing to get her measure onto the floor of the Senate without going through the Armed Services Committee. It remains unclear whether the bill will get the 60 votes it needs to pass.

–CNN's Ted Barrett contributed to this report.


Filed under: Harry Reid • Kirsten Gillibrand
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Democrats will do anything they can to damage our military. Pretty soon we'll have an all gay, all women military dressed in bright pink pants and puffy blouses. Our enemies will tremble in fear.

    November 19, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    The important thing here is that these cases are taken out of the chain of command. Soldiers policing soldiers is akin to Wall St. regulating themselves. Sorry Sen. Levin, but you're wrong on this issue.

    November 19, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. Silence DoGood

    @Anonymous "Democrats will do anything they can to damage our military."
    And at the same time conspiracy conservatives are saying Dictator Obama will use the military to take over the country.
    Think about it.
    It must be blissful to have only a few seconds of short term memory.

    November 19, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  4. smith

    I don`t have a problem with taking the case away from the direct chain of command of the accuser and defendant. However, these cases need to remain in military. The military stays out of civilian matters and it should be vice versa (when the incident happends on military property).

    November 19, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |