U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, led a letter with 65 colleagues pushing committee leadership to keep the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act (MJIIPA) in the final NDAA bill language. The bipartisan and bicameral letter is signed by 44 senators and 22 members of the House. MJIIPA would professionalize how the military prosecutes serious crimes by moving the decision over whether to prosecute them to independent, experienced military prosecutors, and was successfully included in the committee-passed Senate National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022. MJIIPA currently has 66 Senate co-sponsors and the House companion legislation has 220 co-sponsors, representing a majority of the House.
“It is outrageous that the Senate and House Armed Services Committees would even consider stripping out a provision that is backed by a bipartisan majority in both chambers and has been included in the Senate version of the bill. Sexual assault in the military is a serious concern and demands a real solution, not a watered-down provision slipped in the final bill behind closed doors. Retaining the full Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act provision will ensure that the will of this strong majority is respected. It is the only reform that will provide true independence for prosecutors in the military justice system and is essential to ensure that victims, accused, and the public all have full faith and confidence in the military justice process.” – said Senator Gillibrand.
In addition to the bill’s widespread congressional support, veterans service groups are also applying pressure to congressional leadership. On November 23, coalition of veterans groups—including the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, AMVETS, Student Veterans of America, the Service Women Action Network and Vietnam Veterans of America— wrote a letter to congressional leaders pushing them not to remove or water down military sexual assault reform provisions in the final NDAA. The American Legion sent a similar letter on November 29.
Furthermore, earlier this month, 29 state attorneys general, led by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, penned a letter to congressional leadership urging Congress to swiftly pass Senator Gillibrand’s widely supported MJIIPA.
In addition to Senator Gillibrand, the signers include Senators Baldwin (D-WI), Bennet (D-CO), Blumenthal (D-CT), Booker (D-NJ), Brown (D-OH), Cardin (D-MD), Carper (D-DE), Casey (D-PA), Coons (D-DE), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Cruz (R-TX), Duckworth (D-IL), Durbin (D-IL), Ernst (R-IA), Feinstein (D-CA), Grassley (R-IA), Hawley (R-MO), Hassan (D-NH), Heinrich (D-NM), Hickenlooper (D-CO), Hirono (D-HI), Kaine (D-VA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Leahy (D-VT), Lujan (D-NM), Markey (D-MA), Marshall (R-KS), Menendez (D-NJ), Merkley (D-OR), Murphy (D-CT), Murray (D-WA), Padilla (D-CA), Sanders (I-VT), Schatz (D-HI), Shaheen (D-NH), T. Smith (D-MN), Stabenow (D-MI), Tuberville (R-AL), Van Hollen (D-MD), Warner (D-VA), Warnock (D-GA), Warren (D-MA), and Wyden (D-OR).
Members of the House include Representatives Adams (D-NC), Bass (D-CA), Brown (D-MD), Carson (D-IN), Davis (D-IL), Escobar (D-TX), Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Garamendi (D-CA), Hayes (D-CT), Horsford (D-NV), Hudson (R-NC), Johnson (D-GA), Khanna (D-CA), Lee (D-CA), McBath (D-GA), Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Mullins (R-OK), Norton, (D-DC), Speier (D-CA), Turner (R-OH), Veasey (D-TX) and Williams (D-GA).
For the full letter, please click here.