Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., had harsh words for her colleagues on Thursday, who she accused of having "failed" the victims of military sexual assault.
"Despite earning the support of the majority of the Senate, we fell five votes short of overcoming the 60-vote filibuster threshold," Gillibrand in a statement after her bill to remove sexual assault prosecutions from the military chain of command was blocked.
She thanked the assault survivors, who "despite being betrayed by their chain of command, continue to serve their country by fighting for a justice system that will help make sure no one else suffers the same tragedy they did."
"Tragically, today the Senate failed them," Gillibrand said.
She added, "They may not wear the uniform any more, but they believe so strongly in these reforms that for a full year now, they marched the halls of this Congress, reliving the horror they endured, telling their stories, in hopes that no one else who serves our country has to suffer as they did."
"I always hoped we could do the right thing here - and deliver a military justice system that is free from bias and conflict of interest - a military justice system that is worthy of the brave men and women who fight for us," she said. "But today the Senate turned its back on a majority of its members."
The vote was 55 to 45 -- five short of the 60 votes needed to advance the measure. For now, the proposal is effectively tabled.
Gillibrand, however, pledged to continue her work on the issue:
First published March 6 2014, 12:25 PM