12/23/13 After a passing vote Thursday night in the U.S. Senate, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature and includes bipartisan provisions from H.R. 1864, legislation authored by Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) to extend whistleblower protections to military sexual assault victims.
“Hoosiers remain concerned about our national security and the safety of our communities. This defense bill serves as the key mechanism for providing essential resources for our service members and ensures the Armed Forces are equipped to carry out their mission at home and abroad, Walorski commented.
“This year’s defense bill contains historic provisions to combat the growing military sexual assault epidemic and create an environment for safe reporting. I am pleased to see these bipartisan measures pass and urge President Obama to sign this bill into law immediately to begin eradicating this horrific problem,” said Walorski, a freshman member of the House Armed Services Committee.
The House of Representatives passed the NDAA by a vote of 350-69 last Thursday. During NDAA general floor debate in the House, Congresswoman Walorski spoke about H.R. 1864 as the only freshman representative from the House Armed Services Committee.
Walorski’s military sexual assault provisions specifically designate reports of sexual assault as a form of communication under existing whistleblower protections. Her provisions also require an Inspector General investigation into allegations of retaliatory personnel actions taken against victims who have reported alleged instances of rape, sexual assault, or other forms of sexual misconduct in the military.
Earlier this year, H.R. 1864 was passed as a standalone bill in the House by a vote of 423-0. Companion legislation was introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar and Claire McCaskill and included in both the House and Senate versions of the NDAA.