WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia is optimistic about the passing of the proposed #IAmVanessaGuillen Bill, which would give more power to local authorities in missing soldiers cases and would change the process of how soldiers would report sexual harassment and assault cases on post.
The representative from Texas’ 29th District is confident in the bill after a Congressional hearing for the Guillen case happened Wednesday.
“I think that the bill will move, and I think that it’ll be a lasting legacy of Vanessa Guillen,” Garcia said. “We look forward to continuing to work on this bill and hopefully passing it very, very soon.”
A day after the hearing, the Guillen family was invited to the White House to speak directly with President Donald Trump. The conversation itself was not enough to satisfy Garcia.
“I think anytime that a grieving family can hear directly from the president, I think that’s a very good thing,” Garcia said. “I think, for me, what I’m more interested in, of course, is making sure that we can follow that up with action.”
Garcia has been critical about the Army’s investigation into Guillen’s case. She wants Guillen’s claims of sexual harassment on post to be taken seriously as a motive for her murder.
“The Army couches their statements about the connection between sexual harassment and the murder as not being a viable motive because there’s no credible evidence that she was harassed,” Garcia said. “That’s pretty much telling the family and all her friends that they have no credibility, that they are saying what Vanessa told them is not credible.”
Garcia is one of the people who pushed for the independent panel to review the culture at Fort Hood. Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy announced the names of those on the panel Thursday.
Garcia says her candidates were not included.