Senate debates sexual assault measures, then stalls

McClatchy Washington BureauNovember 20, 2013 

The frequently frustrating Senate showed again Wednesday why so many people are fed up with Capitol Hill, as lawmakers debated sexual assault provisions on a defense bill for nearly six hours but then failed to finish with a vote.

Plans called for the extended debate, followed by a vote around 5:30 p.m. on a high-profile amendment by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. The Gillibrand amendment would strip sexual assault and other serious cases out of the usual military chain of command.

The debate itself was, by and large, a good one, with each side fleshing out its points. As the vote approached, though, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., objected to proceeding on the grounds that he wanted to be able to offer additional amendments. Coburn complained that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was blocking GOP amendments,  and with that the Senate effectively crashed to a stop.

Presumably, some deal will get worked out in the next day or two.


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