Military sexual assault bill heads for Senate vote

Military sexual assault bill heads for Senate vote

Legislation to curb sexual assaults in the military by stripping senior commanders of their authority to prosecute rapes and other serious offenses is headed for a highly anticipated vote in the Senate.

The bill, which is expected to come up for a vote Thursday afternoon, is firmly opposed by the Pentagon’s leadership, which argues officers should have more responsibility, not less, for the conduct of the troops they lead.

A solid majority of the Senate backs the bill, sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., illustrating the deep frustration among Republicans and Democrats over the military’s failure to stem the epidemic of sexual assaults in the ranks. Gillibrand, however, will likely need 60 votes to prevent a filibuster that would block the bill’s passage.

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