The Hill reports that the cloture vote I discussed yesterday passed 71-29. Considering the minority’s biggest gripe was the lack of opportunities for amendments, I can’t imagine any senator who voted for cloture not voting for the bill. So passage by the Senate before the end of the year is practically assured.
I still won’t have my deep dives into the military justice provisions in the bill until the new year, but I will share this bit from Senator Levin’s introduction of the compromise legislation to the Senate on December 9 (link to pdf):
Although we were unable to consider the Gillibrand and McCaskill amendments on the Senate floor or in the bill itself that will be forthcoming, the bill includes more than 20 other provisions to address the problem of sexual assault in the military that were in the Senate bill that came to the floor out of the committee and that were in the House of Representatives bill as well.
These provisions include the following: They provide a special victims’ counsel for survivors of sexual assault, make retaliation for reporting a sexual assault a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The provisions require commanders to immediately refer all allegations of sexual assault to professional criminal investigators. They would end the commanders’ ability to modify findings and convictions for sexual assaults, and would require higher level review of any decision not to prosecute allegations of sexual assault.
The bill will do the following that will be hopefully coming here next week: Make the Article 32 process more like a grand jury proceeding. Under the UCMJ, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, currently the proceeding that is taken under Article 32 is more like a discovery proceeding rather than a grand jury proceeding, and it has created all kinds of problems, including for victims of sexual assault who would have to appear and be subject to cross-examination by the defense.