Arkansas’s Republican congressmen today voted against a motion by Iraq war veteran Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois that would have added language to the National Defense Appropriation Act to give victims of sexual abuse more options in bringing their abusers to trial.
The bill would have let a victim choose either the Office of Chief Prosecutor in her service branch or the commander in her chain of command to determine whether a case goes to trial. Several other Democratic congresswomen spoke in favor of Duckworth’s motion. The motion failed 225-194, with only two Republicans supporting the measure.
The appropriation, which passed 315-108, did include measures to protect victims of sexual abuse, including requiring a mandatory minimum sentence of two years for servicemen convicted of rape or assault in a military court, dismissal of certain officers and dishonorable discharges for enlisted and noncommissioned personnel. The bill also strips military commanders of the power to overturn convictions in rape and sexual assault cases.
Reps. Tom Cotton, Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin and Steve Womack voted in favor of the appropriation bill.