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Rand Paul, Ted Cruz Join Effort to Combat Sexual Assault in Military

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, added some additional Republican support to a bill aiming to combat sexual assaults in the military Tuesday.

In a news conference with bipartisan supporters of the bill, Paul and Cruz each announced they would sign onto the bill, which aims to take sexual assaults in the military out of the chain of command.

“I’m concerned about justice and I want it to occur in the military for victims as well as for those who are potentially accused,” Paul said. “Some say we have no bipartisan cooperation around here.  I disagree.  I think this is a great example of how people from both sides come together to work on a problem and look honestly at what a problem is.”

“I see no reason why conservatives shouldn’t support this,” Paul said.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, R-N.Y., who is the bill’s lead sponsor, thanked the two senators for joining the bipartisan efforts to curb sexual assault I the military

“This is not a Democratic idea. It is not a Republican idea. It is a good idea,” Gillibrand said.

Gillibrand’s proposal, which is co-sponsored by 32 additional senators, was rejected by the Senate Armed Services Committee last month and has been opposed by military leaders.  Though it was not approved by the committee, Cruz said he supported the plan because of Gillibrand’s arguments about success in decreasing sexual assault the British and Israeli militaries by removing reporting from the chain of command.

“I was persuaded by Sen. Gillibrand’s exceptionally passionate and able advocacy,” Cruz said.

Gillibrand is trying to find 51 co-sponsors of the bill to advance debate on the plan in the Senate.

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