Sen. Jerry MoranJerry MoranSenate GOP to Obama: Stop issuing new rules Overnight Tech: Bill protecting online reviews heads to Obama | New addition to FCC transition team | Record Cyber Monday Overnight Finance: Trump expected to pick Steven Mnuchin for Treasury | Budget chair up for grabs | Trump team gets deal on Carrier jobs MORE (R-Kan.) objected Monday to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidFeinstein after dinner with Clinton: She has 'accepted' her loss Clintons remember John Glenn as a 'uniquely American hero' Clinton reappears on Capitol Hill for Reid send-off MORE’s (D-Nev.) attempt to bring up two military sexual assault bills.
Reid was trying to set up procedural vote on two competing military sexual assault bills from Sens. Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillGOP eyes big gamble on ObamaCare Oversight panel demands answers on Pentagon waste report Messer eyes challenging Donnelly for Indiana Senate seat MORE (D-Mo.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDuckworth: Expediting Mattis waiver 'dangerous' Senate sends annual defense bill to Obama's desk The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-N.Y.), but Moran objected saying he also wanted a vote on a bill from Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).
Moran said that if the two Democratic measures were going to be considered now, that it was only fair that the Senate also vote on Kirk’s amendment, which would increase sanctions against Iran to prevent the country from developing nuclear weapons.
Moran was even willing to have a 60-vote threshold for final passage of Kirk’s bill, but Reid objected to modifying his unanimous consent request saying Iran sanctions weren’t relevant to the issue of military sexual assault.
"I am terribly disappointed that my Republican friends are trying to turn this vital national security concern into a partisan issue by trying to inject into it a setting where it's clearly not relevant," Reid said.
Lawmakers grew increasingly concerned about military sexual assault after the Pentagon released a report last year that showed most instances aren't reported or prosecuted.
Gillibrand's measure would strip the decision to prosecute sexual assault cases away from commanders, but Pentagon leaders oppose that, as do McCaskill and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.).
McCaskill’s bill is far less controversial because it leaves the current system in place, yet adds some protections for victims.
Reid will likely go back to the drawing board in trying to work out a deal to hold votes on the two bills. Although Reid has said he supports stronger sanctions against Iran, the Obama administration has asked him not to hold a vote until after a six-month negotiation with Iran is complete. The administration is trying to get Iran to stop enriching uranium in pursuit of obtaining a nuclear weapon.