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March 7, 2014
After a year spent lobbying her colleagues, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's bill to change how the Pentagon handles sexual assault cases was rejected by the Senate.
Gillibrand isn't looking at her legislation's defeat as a failure, just a temporary setback in her effort to remove sexual assault cases from the military chain of command. 55 senators supported it but that wasn't enough to overcome a bipartisan filibuster.
Gillibrand says her work isn’t over.
"None of us will walk away. We will not stop our efforts," Gillibrand said. "We will continue to work harder than ever in the coming year to strengthen our military.”
The Senate did adopt other reforms intended fix a culture that allowed a reported twenty six thousand sexual assaults in the armed services last year.
While Maryland Democratic Senator Ben Cardin supported Gillibrand’s bill, he says lawmakers have provided new tools for victims, like providing better access to counseling.
“The second bill which will change some of the procedures around - hopefully we get it through the House – changing the whole culture within the military on dealing with sexual crimes,” Cardin said.
The new reforms are now headed to the House.