BEEFS TO BFFS?

06.14.13

Unlikely Alliances in Senate

Formed because of complex sexual-assault measures.

The fight for new laws on sexual assault in the military has created some strange bedfellows in the Senate. A proposal by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand giving prosecutors rather than commanders the power to determine which sexual-assault cases to try won support from conservative Republicans Ted Cruz and David Vitter, only to lose out to a less far-reaching measure offered by Democratic Sen. Carl Levin and backed by fellow Democrat Claire McCaskill. These surprising alliances underline the complexity of the legislative terrain, Jennifer Steinhauer reports in The New York Times. Nevertheless, unlike many policy battles in the stalemated Senate, the effort to address military sexual violence is almost certain to ultimately result in significant change. More than a dozen new provisions were approved by the Armed Services Committee this week, including measures to criminalize retaliation against victims who report crimes, subject sex offenders to automatic dishonorable discharge, and end commanders’ power to unilaterally overturn jury convictions.