Gillibrand and Hawley Team Up on Military Sexual Assault Bill

The lawmakers are on opposite ends of nearly all things political, but they are working together on a bill designed to improve the military’s response to sexual assault.,

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Gillibrand teams up with Hawley on a measure to combat sexual assault in the military.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is working with Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri on legislation aimed at combating sexual assault in the military.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is working with Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri on legislation aimed at combating sexual assault in the military.Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times
  • May 25, 2021, 8:58 a.m. ET

One of the most interesting new alliances in the Senate these days is between Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, and Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, who have been working together on the Senate Armed Services Committee on possible solutions to sexual assault in the military.

Mr. Hawley has repeatedly praised Ms. Gillibrand for her work on the issue culminating in bipartisan legislation to change the way those crimes are handled. Ms. Gillibrand has often sought out Mr. Hawley, a first-term lawmaker and vocal supporter of former President Donald J. Trump, directly for such work, even though the two are on opposite ends of nearly all things political.

The two are planning on Tuesday to introduce a bill designed to improve one of the military’s sexual assault response coordinators, which came under scrutiny after the killing of a soldier at Fort Hood, and an ensuing report that showed many members of the coordination team lacked training to help victims of assault.

Under their measure, the Defense Department would have to more carefully evaluate the programs and report their findings to Congress, and increase training and other resources to professionalize the military justice system. It is one of a few initiatives Ms. Gillibrand and Mr. Hawley have joined together on — and attracted bipartisan support for — to try and make the military more accountable.

“This legislation would aid the Department of Defense in identifying next steps to professionalize the role of Sexual Assault Response Coordinator throughout all branches of the military,” Mr. Hawley said in a statement.

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