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McCaskill, Blunt Join Hands for Amendment on Military Sexual Assaults

Amendment sponsored by McCaskill would give victims of military sexual assault more rights in court, would evaluate commanders based on how appropriately they handle such cases
(Photo credit: Jim Legans, Jr. via flickr)

Missouri’s two Senators in Washington, D.C. had high praise for each other Wednesday as they  put aside party politics to try to pass legislation about sexual assaults in the military.  KSMU’s Jennifer Davidson reports.

Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican Roy Blunt see eye to eye on an amendment that would dramatically change the way the military treats victims of sexual assault.   The proposed amendment, sponsored by McCaskill, is tagged onto the Defense Authorization Bill. The US Senate debated the bill Wednesday afternoon.

It would make retaliating against victims a crime, and would put new checks and balances on commanders involved in sexual assault cases. It would also mean commanders are evaluated according to how appropriately they handle such cases. McCaskill spoke to reporters by conference call Wednesday.

“We are requiring that every victim get their own lawyer, so they will have their counsel looking after them—as opposed to a prosecutor who might not be always looking after the victim’s best interest,” McCaskill said.

On the Senate floor, Blunt praised McCaskill for being a national leader in attacking this problem, and said he has relied heavily on her judgment.

Over in the House of Representatives, a spokesman for Congressman Billy Long of Missouri’s 7th district said Long supports Blunt and McCaskill in their effort.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Davidson.

ANCHOR TAG:  McCaskill’s amendment needs sixty votes to pass in the Senate.