With the House heading home on Friday, Congress is bustling with action to finish up a number of vital bills before the end of the week.
The House and Senate negotiators agreed on one such bill, the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA), yesterday that has important implications for Guantanamo Bay and military sexual assault.
Here’s what they are:
- The administration can transfer more prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to foreign countries. The Pentagon cannot move any of the prisoners into the United States, but the law relaxes the restrictions on moving them overseas. The bill allows the military to send prisoners to Yemen and requires the administration to report on whether the Yemen government is capable of detaining and prosecuting them. This legislation could allow the military to transfer half (80) of the Guantanamo prisoners out of the facility.
Military sexual assault rules are revamped. Freshman senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has worked fervently over the past year to change the sexual assault rules in the military. While her amendment to remove sexual assault prosecutions from military’s chain of command will not get a vote due to the tight schedule, the NDAA does prevent commanding officers from having the unilateral ability to overthrow sexual assault verdicts.
It also expands a sexual assault victims program and changes how courts of investigation handle sexual assault cases. Previously, sexual assault accusers would face tough interrogations after making their accusations. The bill turns those into preliminary hearings to find probably cause for further investigation. Finally, it also makes retaliating against sexual assault accusers a crime.
The House must pass this version of the bill (it passed a different one earlier this year) by the end of this week before it adjourns while the Senate will likely take it up next week. If not, the military will no longer be able to issue combat or hazard pay come January 1st. Congress has passed the defence bill for 52 straight years.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.