White House meeting with lawmakers on military sexual assault

His comments came on the heels of a new Pentagon report that found the number of estimated sexual assaults had increased by more than a third in 2012 to 26,000.

Thursday’s meeting includes roughly a dozen lawmakers from both parties and both chambers. Many who were invited are key players in Congress as it is poised to make changes to the military’s judicial code in an attempt to curb the number of assaults.

Among the expected attendees are Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandGOP chairman: Spending bill expected to last through April Vet groups applaud Trump's Defense pick of Mattis Dem lawmaker won't support waiver allowing Mattis to serve as defense secretary MORE (D-N.Y.); Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillA Cabinet position for Petraeus; disciplinary actions for Broadwell after affair Defense bill tackles retaliation against military sex assault victims Red-state Dems face tough votes on Trump picks MORE (D-Mo.); Kay HaganKay HaganGOP senator floats retiring over gridlock 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map The untold stories of the 2016 battle for the Senate MORE (D-N.C.); Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharCures bill clears first Senate hurdle The Hill's 12:30 Report GOP wants to move fast on Sessions MORE (D-Minn.); Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteJuan Williams: McConnell won big by blocking Obama Battle brews over Trump’s foreign policy Battle for the Senate: Top of ticket dominates MORE (R-N.H.); Susan CollinsSusan CollinsMedicare looms over Trump-Ryan alliance Senators crafting bill to limit deportations under Trump Cornyn: ‘Virtual certainty’ Sessions and Price will be confirmed MORE (R-Maine) and Deb FischerDeb FischerSenate GOP to Obama: Stop issuing new rules Trump’s Cabinet picks raise hopes for infrastructure package GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election MORE (R-Neb.), and Reps. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.); Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.); Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Mike Turner (R-Ohio), according to congressional aides.

There are several different proposals in Congress to deal with sexual assault, and the measures are expected to be taken up during next month’s markups of the Defense authorization bill.

Defense Secretary Chuck HagelChuck HagelLobbying World Ex-Dem leader: Clinton should include GOP in Cabinet Even Steven: How would a 50-50 Senate operate? MORE has also submitted a proposal to Congress, which would strip military commanders of the ability to overturn guilty verdicts in most criminal cases.

Some lawmakers, including Gillibrand, want to go further and remove the prosecution of sexual assault cases from the military’s chain of command.

— Justin Sink contributed.