Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images
WASHINGTON -- The House has backed mandatory minimum sentences of two years for members of the armed services convicted of rape or sexual assault in a military court.
By voice vote on Thursday, the House approved the step as part of a sweeping defense policy bill. They added the mandatory sentence to a provision in the bill that also requires anyone found guilty of a sex-related crime receive, at a minimum, a dismissal from military service or a dishonorable discharge.
Congressional outrage over recent high-profile cases and an increase in the number of reported incidents of sexual assault have led to new legislation to tackle the problem in the armed forces.
The House was expected to complete the legislation on Friday but still must reconcile its version with a Senate measure.
The Associated Press