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Mikulski: Stop military sexual assault

Female senators stood united on the Senate floor Tuesday against military sexual assault, but how to best address the issue is still being debated.

The Senate is now considering the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) , which authorizes more than $600 billion in defense spending for the Pentagon.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said military sexual assault was a top issue he wanted to debate and have amendments on but Republicans blocked him from bringing up an amendment from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

“I’m pretty fed up,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), dean of the women’s caucus. “No woman should be a victim of rape by a fellow soldier.”

Some protections for victims of sexual assault were included during committee markup of NDAA, such as providing a lawyer for victims and criminalizing retaliation against victims who report assaults. But Gillibrand and most of the other female senators have said the underlying bill doesn’t go far enough.

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