11/20/2013 09:02 pm ET

Kirsten Gillibrand On Military Sexual Assault Amendment: 'It's The Least We Can Do'

Douglas Graham via Getty Images

WASHINGTON -- The Senate on Wednesday failed to reach agreement on amendments to the military justice system, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's (D-N.Y.) proposal to remove military sexual assault cases from the chain of command.

The Senate adjourned Wednesday evening after discussing amendments for more than five hours. Gillibrand, who has the public backing of 53 senators for her proposal, told MSNBC's Chris Hayes she is "still hopeful" that the Senate will vote when it reconvenes on Thursday. She argued that her proposal would benefit both victims and defendants in serious cases by protecting them from bias. She said the amendment will bring an "objective review, outside the military chain of command."

Gillibrand said the amendment would allow a justice system that members of the military deserve.

"If the crime is serious, if it has a penalty of more than a year, it demands -- our men and women that serve in this military demand that they have a justice system worthy of their sacrifice, one that can actually be transparent and accountable," Gillibrand said.

The senator pointed out that U.S. allies have made similar adjustments to their sexual assault policies. Under the current U.S. system, members of the military don't believe they'll see justice, Gillibrand said.

"When you talk to any victim who has survived not just a brutal rape, but the second indignity and violation of self when a commander says, 'It's your own fault,' after a violent rape ... When you hear that from a man or woman who would literally die for this country and our values, the anger rises from me and says, 'They deserve better,'" she said.

"It's the least we can do for these men and women."



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