It looks like students aren’t the only ones procrastinating before Thanksgiving break. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has at least 50 of the 60 votes needed to pass her military sexual assault bill, but the Senate went into recess for the Thanksgiving holiday without voting on the measure Friday. Not like there's any rush to protect people in uniform, guys.
On Thursday, the Senate’s Democratic majority failed to end a filibuster of the bill, and now legislators aren’t sure when the proposal will be voted on after the Senate returns on December 9. According to reports, there was a struggle between the two parties about how many amendments will be allowed in the piece of legislation. That's bad news for Senator Gillibrand.
"I may be calling people throughout the next two weeks, especially if I get more information or there are any developments," Gillibrand said. "As more people reach their view on the issue, as more generals sign on, as active-duty personnel are becoming available to talk to people, we make those conversations possible."
Things were starting to look up for Gillibrand’s military sexual assault bill this week after it received additional support from several senators. As Bustle reported:
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid became the bill’s 50th public supporter, following his fellow Nevada colleague Republican Senator Dean Heller. That means Gillibrand only needs 10 more votes to pass the bill through the Senate.
“I’m going to support Gillibrand,” Reid said. “People could disagree with my reasoning, but you know … the substance that I’ve looked at, I’ve first of all acknowledged what the committee did; I think they did some good stuff. I think it can be improved.”
Constituents also support Senator Gillibrand’s amendment. According to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, nearly six out of 10 Americans agree that an independent group of military prosecutors should be in charge of carrying out cases of sexual assault, instead of going through the military’s chain of command.
A number of government officials have come out against the bill, most notably Republican Senator John McCain.
Gillibrand continuously refuses to back down, but enough is enough — let's remember that her proposed piece of legislation would help victims of sexual assault. According to a recent Pentagon survey, up to 26,000 service members were on the receiving end of unwanted sexual contact in 2012 — but only 3,374 incidents of assault were reported.
The vote has been put off for too long already. Hopefully on December 9, the Senate will finally get down to business.