The U.S. Senate has been hearing a new National Defense Authorization Act, which includes sexual assault initiatives championed heavily by the 20 women in the Senate. Female senators have been receiving a lot of attention this year for their role in breaking the government deadlock and promoting dialogue among members of Congress.
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., are leading the effort on the annual defense authorization bill.
More from the Washington Post:
The rising number of sexual assaults — the Pentagon estimates that as many as 26,000 service members were the targets of unwanted sexual contact last year — has earned special attention, especially from women senators.
McCaskill and Gillibrand are two of the record 20 women now serving in the Senate and two of seven women now serving on the Armed Services Committee — the highest tally ever.
They worked over the summer with colleagues of both genders and parties to ensure that the defense bill would include several significant changes to how the Pentagon handles sex assault crimes. Already the bill ends the statute of limitations on cases of assault or rape; strips military commanders of their ability to overturn jury convictions in assault or rape cases; requires that civilians review decisions by commanders to not prosecute certain cases; makes it a crime to retaliate against victims who report a sexual assault; and requires dishonorable discharge or dismissal for anyone convicted of sexual assault.
On The Daily Circuit, we look at what the rise of females in Congress might mean for the type of legislation proposed and passed. What can we expect from the current female members of Congress in 2014?