House panel blocks votes on chain of command amendments

Gillibrand's provision was stripped from the Senate Armed Services Committee’s markup of the defense authorization bill on Wednesday by a 17-9 vote.

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The amendment was sponsored in the House by Reps. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

The other blocked amendment came from Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), which would have taken sexual assault cases out of the chain of command and given the decision to services’ chief prosecutors.

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) requested a vote in the Rules Committee to allow Speier’s amendment on the floor, but it was rejected by the Republicans and voted down 1-9.

Rules Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) defended the committee’s decision, saying that it included two amendments on sexual assault prosecutions. Those amendments were from Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), which establishes mandatory minimums for sexual assault offenses, and Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), which would make it a new offense for a commander to sexually assault or rape a subordinate.