Inhofe, Gillibrand, Grassley, McCaskill, McCain

National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735)

Senator Inhofe: (12:02 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "Anyone who travels overseas and travels to these various areas knows that when they go through a commissary, they see - particularly in areas where there's not other opportunities out there; there's no competition - but they see it's almost like a club. The wives and husbands, the families, the kids, that's what they do. They go to the commissary. Taking that away would be taking aw tradition. And, again, the bill doesn't state it goes away, but it does temporarily privatize five major commissaries. Now, when that happens, you've started the ball rolling. And the bill also states - and we discussed this in the committee - that this gives us time to look and evaluate and see whether or not we want to privatize."

 

Senator Gillibrand: (12:10 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "Every military victim of sexual assault deserve due process, professional treatment by a trained military official at each opportunity to seek and receive justice. Our military has promised improvement and has had adequate time in which to improve, but the numbers show that the military has failed to live up to its promise. The Department of Defense has admitted that it made no progress since 2012. It's time for the chain of command to be removed from decision-making in sexual assault cases and replaced by those trained, nonbiased military personnel, educated in the law and experienced in handling sexual assault cases. Further, MJAA specifically carves out sexual assault and other serious crimes with the remainder of military crimes being left in the chain of command. Please hold the military to a higher standard by voting "Yes" to an unbiased military system."

 

Senator Grassley: (12:17 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "We've tried reforming the current system and it didn't work. When we are talking about something as serious and life-altering as sexual assault, we cannot afford to wait any longer. So I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this amendment, but as we approach this from the outside, it gives me an opportunity to reiterate what I see so wrong in so many bureaucracies. We always promise change, but as I've looked back over a couple, three decades of this problem of the culture of various bureaucracies, nothing really happens from within. It's got to happen from without. And in this particular case of national defense being the number-one responsibility of the federal government, this change has to happen from without, because it hasn't happened from within regardless of the promises."

 

Senator McCaskill: (12:24 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "This is a cultural problem we have to get after. And I would stand ready to work with Senator Gillibrand, Senator Grassley and all of my colleagues to look and see what we have to do to get at this peer-to-peer retaliation. The Gillibrand amendment moves retaliation from article 29 to article 93 at the UCML, it would reduce the maximum punishment for this crime. And it finally prohibits the resources necessary to get at this problem. The amendment says we cannot add any additional resources to get after this. Historic reforms have been made. They are working based on data. And talking to dozens and dozens of prosecutors and untold victims, as a former sex prosecutor who cares about nothing more than taking care of victims and making sure they have due process and are respected and deferred to I must urge this body to reject the Gillibrand approach, which removes commanders from being held accountable where they must be held accountable."

 

Senator McCain: (12:35 PM)

  • Spoke on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • "This year's bill builds on that progress with 12 military justice provisions including every proposal that was offered by Senator Gillibrand during the committee's markup of this legislation. It is true that sexual assaults have been reduced. That's a fact. And so to somehow allege that nothing has been done, and that what her proposal is rejected by literally every member of the military that I know that has years of experience. We cannot remove the commanding officer from the chain of command. And that's what the Senator Gillibrand's amendment and effort has been, to remove the commanding officer from responsibility. And I will steadfastly oppose it. And I hope that at some point the senator from New York would acknowledge that we took in this bill every provision that she offered during the markup of the legislation."