Gillibrand’s bill will likely draw heated debate when her subcommittee marks up the authorization bill next month, with the top Republican on the panel, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, saying he is “adamantly opposed” to the legislation. Graham, an Air Force Reserve lawyer, has argued that bypassing the chain of command would hurt commanders’ ability to maintain good order and discipline within their units.
Other key lawmakers, including Smith and Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., are still reviewing Gillibrand’s bill. Whether or not her bill makes it into the authorization measure, the very fact that it is being seriously considered is significant for those who want to take commanders out of the prosecution equation.
“The details are sticky,” Smith said. “But I am wide open to the idea.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.