Gillibrand's military sexual assault bill rejected in Senate

Mar 7, 2014

After a year of lobbying her colleagues, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's bill to change how the Pentagon handles sexual assault cases was rejected by the Senate.

Gillibrand isn't looking at her legislation's defeat as a failure, just a temporary setback in her effort to remove sexual assault cases from the military chain of command. Although 55 senators supported it, that wasn't enough to overcome a bipartisan filibuster.

Gillibrand says her work isn’t over.

"None of us will walk away," Gillibrand said. "We will not stop our efforts. We will continue to work harder than ever in the coming year to strengthen our military.”

The Senate did adopt other reforms intended fix a culture that allowed a reported twenty six thousand sexual assaults in the armed services last year.

While Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin supported Gillibrand’s bill, he says lawmakers have provided new tools for victims, like providing better access to counseling.

“The second bill which will change some of the procedures around - hopefully we get it through the House – changing the whole culture within the military on dealing with sexual crimes,” Cardin said.

The new reforms are now headed to the House of Representatives.