By Jeremy Herb
“We haven't taken a position on or seen specific legislation, but we'll review any idea that addresses this problem,” he added.
Gillibrand gained new Senate support for her bill on Tuesday, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). She has 34 co-sponsors to her bill, which she plans to introduce as an amendment to the Defense authorization bill on the Senate floor.
But the bill is uniformly opposed by the military’s top brass, and senior Senate Democrats — including Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) — disagree with her proposal.
Obama's backing could help Gillibrand win over skeptical Democrats, but it would also pit him against his top generals, who have said they want to keep the decision to proseucte cases in the chain of command.
Obama helped drive congressional action on sexual assault earlier this year when he called on the military to do more to address the problem and held a meeting with Pentagon leaders at the White House.
White House officials also held a meeting with lawmakers, including Gillibrand, in order to discuss their proposals to tackle sexual assault in the military.