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March 06, 2014 AT 4:24 AM
Legislation to curb sexual assaults in the military by stripping senior commanders of their authority to prosecute rapes and other serious offenses is headed for a highly anticipated vote in the Senate. The bill, which is expected to come up for a vote Thursday afternoon, is firmly opposed by the Pentagon's leadership, which argues officers should have more responsibility, not less, for the conduct of the troops they lead. A solid majority of the Senate backs the bill, sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., illustrating the deep frustration among Republicans and Democrats over the military's failure to stem the epidemic of sexual assaults in the ranks.