WASHINGTON (AP) - The women of the Senate who led the fight to change how the military deals with sexual assault in its ranks are hailing the passage of a comprehensive defense bill that includes some of those changes.

The Senate voted 84-15 Thursday night for the $632.8 billion bill that covers combat pay, new ships, aircraft and military bases. Drawing the greatest attention are provisions cracking down on perpetrators of sexual assault and rape.

Estimates from the Pentagon that 26,000 members of the military may have been sexually assaulted last year. "Today represents a huge win for victims of sexual assault, and for justice in America's armed forces," said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., one of seven women on the Armed Services Committee who pushed for the changes.

Read or Share this story: