U.S. Senate passes military sex assault bill 97 – 0

The U.S. Senate voted 97-0 on Monday to pass reforms in how the military handles sexual assault cases, but it probably will be months before the changes become law.

The measure must still be approved by the House of Representatives, where Democratic and Republican aides said it is unlikely to be up for a vote until later in 2014.

Backed by Senator Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, the bill includes significant changes such as eliminating the “good soldier” defense allowing a court to reduce the sentences of offenders who have strong military records.

It also strengthens prosecutors’ role in advising commanders on whether to go to court martial. But it falls short of shifting the decision on whether to pursue assault cases from top commanders to independent military prosecutors…

The Senate is bipartisan in being chickenshit!

High-profile military sexual assault cases, some involving defense officials responsible for prosecuting sex crimes, also contributed to charges that the Pentagon has not been serious enough about stopping an epidemic of sexual assaults seen as a “cancer” in the armed forces…

The bill that was passed on Monday is unlikely to go to the House as a standalone measure. Instead it is likely to be included as part of a bill expected later this year that authorizes Pentagon spending.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, offered a tougher bill which would have taken responsibility out of the good ol’ boy network. She couldn’t get enough Dems to support it to press past Senate Republicans.

I don’t know anyone who expects much of anything useful to happen in the House – controlled as it is by Tea Party misogynists and cowardly lion Republicans. They may allow the proposal to be passed back to Senate as an amendment – after the midterm elections in November.

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