The House voted Tuesday to prevent anyone convicted of a sex crime from enlisting in the military.
The Defense Department had moved in March to prohibit anyone convicted of rape, sexual abuse, sexual assault or incest from entering the military, but Marine Corps veteran Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., convinced the House to prohibit any military funds from being spent to waive the restrictions, according to the Military Times.
House and Senate versions of the 2014 defense authorization bill contain provisions that would put current Pentagon policy barring enlistment of anyone convicted of sexual crimes into law. Whether any waivers would be possible depends on what version is signed into law.
“This is a serious issue,” said Kline, whose wife, Vicky, is a retired Army nurse and whose son served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. “The number of sexual assault victims in the military is unacceptable and I remain committed to preventing potential predators from joining our ranks.”
Before passage of Kline’s amendment, the funding bill already included provisions aimed at improving sexual assault prevention programs. In the report accounting the bill, the House Appropriations Committee says it is “outraged by the pervasive problem of sexual assault in the Armed Forces. Sexual assault is not just an issue in the military; it is an epidemic.”