Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand at Women's Economic Empowerment Summit.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
Senate Republicans blocked a vote on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's Military Justice Improvement Act in late November, and now—oops!—time is running out. The deadline for passage of a Defense authorization bill is December 13, because that's when the House plans to adjourn for the year. As a result, there may not be time to pass any significant amendments, including Gillibrand's plan to have military prosecutors, not commanders, make decisions about military sexual assault prosecutions.
Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.), the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said the House and Senate panels were preparing to “ping-pong” the Defense bill by reaching a preconference agreement that’s passed as a new bill in the House, then the Senate.

The maneuver would skip over the Senate’s normal passage of the bill on the floor and a formal conference committee, although the Senate would have a chance to amend it.

But Smith said there isn’t time for the bill to go back and forth with any major amendments. [...]

While Smith said controversial measures already included in one or both of the chambers' bills could get tackled through the informal conference committee, new amendments like Gillibrand’s — or a potentially tougher Iran sanctions measure — would not be considered.

So, delay delay block delay, oh, gosh, no time left for that!

The measure could still be brought up and receive a vote as a stand-alone bill, but that opens up yet more room for delay and blocking.

Tell Congress to protect victims of military sexual assault by passing the Military Justice Improvement Act.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 08:19 AM PST.

Also republished by This Week in the War on Women and Daily Kos.

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