The U. S. Senate has approved modest reforms aimed at strengthening the prosecution of sexual assault cases in the military. The 97-0 vote comes in the wake of a measure that would have dramatically changed the process, by removing commanders from deciding whether their subordinates should be prosecuted. That measure had a majority of Senators on board but fell 5 votes short of the 60 needed for passage. Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin supported the stronger bill.
"No sooner did that vote get announced that we had new announcements out of Washington about prosecutions of Generals for sexual harrassment. It just tells you that the culture within the military needs a dramatic change. That's why I voted for this."
Durbin was joined by Republicans Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz in his vote for the bill with tougher measures, which was sponsored by Democratic New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Illinois Republican Mark Kirk, former Navy commander, joined forces with Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill in derailing the stronger bill. Durbin says he's confident that, if military sex assault continues to be a problem, tougher measures will eventually be enacted.
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