WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Kristen Gillibrand is rallying for bipartisan support for her legislation that would remove sexual assault cases and other serious offenses from the military chain of command.
Gillibrand's Military Justice Improvement Act would require that an independent group of military prosecutors be charged with deciding which cases move forward to a trial for any crime punishable with a year or more of jail time.
The military chain of command would retain deciding authority on cases that carry less than a year of jail time, as well as crimes that are unique to the military, such as disobeying orders or going absent without leave.
So far, the legislation has garnered the support of 38 Democrats and eight Republicans, but it still needs a few more votes to pass.
"From the beginning, we've all worked to get every vote in the Senate, and we are hopeful that the voices of our greatest advocates and this bipartisan coalition will ultimately be heard, whatever the vote threshold is," Gillibrand said.
"I'm proud to support the Gillibrand legislation," said Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. "I supported it in committee, and I'm proud to support it on the floor of the Senate because I believe it will advance justice, and it will strengthen our military."
The proposed amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill will likely be brought to the Senate floor before Thanksgiving.