Senate signs off on NDAA, Vanessa Guillen act, Pres. Biden to sign it soon

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A bill that reforms how the U.S. military handles crimes is now heading to the desk of President Joe Biden.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate signed off on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included reforms driven by Vanessa Guillen's disappearance and murder.

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Houston U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia announced the news Wednesday on her Instagram, adding, "It's been a long road to get #JusticeForVanessaGuillen, but we kept up the fight & now, these reforms will go to @POTUS' desk."

The NDAA calls on special prosecutors to investigate claims of sexual misconduct, not a soldier's chain of command.

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Houston Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen vanished on April 22, 2020 from Fort Hood. One year later, her family is sharing their grief, anger, and fight to force the most powerful military in the world to change.



The change is welcome news for the family of Guillen, an Army specialist from Houston, and military sexual trauma survivors. They've long said soldiers don't report abuse, fearful of retaliation. Guillen's family has long maintained she suffered sexual harassment before being killed by another soldier while in service to this nation.

Garcia added that this will "ensure that what happened to Guillen will never happen to another soldier."

"This is a bittersweet feeling," Guillen's sister, Mayra,posted on Instagram. "The loss of my sister created the biggest military law change in history. I awaited so long for this day."

The reforms are included in the $768 billion defense authorization bill the Senate passed. The bill creates a special office to handle independent investigations and prosecutions of crimes in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The bill also requires notifications for survivors on their perpetrator's outcomes, and requires the Department of Defense to track allegations of retaliation.
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