Gillibrand’s Moment of Truth on Sexual Assault

The Democrat is getting her long sought-after vote Thursday for a measure to reshape the way the military deals with assault accusations, but she may leave the floor empty-handed.

WASHINGTON, DC -: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is still asking for votes for her military sexual assault reform. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
National Journal
Stacy Kaper
Add to Briefcase
Stacy Kaper
March 6, 2014, 7:36 a.m.

The Sen­ate is fi­nally ready to take up a con­tro­ver­sial bill from Sen. Kirsten Gil­librand aimed at fight­ing mil­it­ary sexu­al as­sault, but though the New York Demo­crat has been beg­ging party lead­er­ship for a vote on the meas­ure for months, it’s un­clear that she has the votes needed to pass it.

Gil­librand’s ma­jor hurdle re­mains con­vin­cing 60 col­leagues to vote yes on clo­ture — a pro­ced­ur­al hurdle be­fore the meas­ure would get a fi­nal vote. Gil­librand has 55 pub­licly de­clared sup­port­ers for her le­gis­la­tion, which would over­haul the mil­it­ary justice sys­tem by strip­ping com­mand­ers of the power to choose which cases are pro­sec­uted.

Gil­librand re­mains in­sist­ent she has more than 55 votes lined up and is “op­tim­ist­ic” she can get over the clo­ture hurdle, but seni­or Sen­ate aides said the vote could go either way.

Gil­librand’s of­fice is ask­ing her sup­port­ers to reach out to Re­pub­lic­ans Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Tom Coburn of Ok­lahoma, Marco Ru­bio of Flor­ida, Mike En­zi of Wyom­ing, Thad Co­chran of Mis­sis­sippi, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania to back the le­gis­la­tion.

Oth­er sen­at­ors Gil­librand’s of­fice is ask­ing her sup­port­ers to tar­get are op­pon­ents who might be will­ing to sup­port clo­ture to al­low the bill to pass with a simple ma­jor­ity: Demo­crats Mark Warner of Vir­gin­ia, Joe Manchin of West Vir­gin­ia, Bill Nel­son of Flor­ida, Shel­don White­house of Rhode Is­land, Tim Kaine of Vir­gin­ia, and in­de­pend­ent An­gus King of Maine.

Gil­librand’s bill is widely sup­por­ted by vic­tim-ad­vocacy or­gan­iz­a­tions who have made the re­form their top pri­or­ity, but it is adam­antly op­posed by the Pentagon’s top brass, who ar­gue it would un­der­mine com­mand­ers’ abil­ity to lead.

Com­plic­at­ing Gil­librand’s bid is a rival meas­ure aimed at ad­dress­ing mil­it­ary sexu­al as­sault from Mis­souri Demo­crat Claire Mc­Caskill.

Mc­Caskill’s meas­ure, which is also ex­pec­ted to be voted on Thursday, in­cludes a pack­age of non­con­tro­ver­sial re­forms and is ex­pec­ted to pass with a wide, bi­par­tis­an ma­jor­ity.

Mc­Caskill’s re­form meas­ures would elim­in­ate a sol­dier’s good mil­it­ary char­ac­ter from be­ing con­sidered part of his de­fense. It would al­low vic­tim in­put in pro­sec­u­tions, al­low sexu­al-as­sault vic­tims to chal­lenge un­fair dis­charge from the ser­vice, make it easi­er for pro­sec­utors to re­com­mend court mar­tials for sexu­al-as­sault cases, in­crease com­mand­er ac­count­ab­il­ity, and ex­tend re­cently ad­op­ted re­forms to mil­it­ary ser­vice academies.

Mc­Caskill ar­gues her bill ad­dresses the is­sue bet­ter than Gil­librand’s, and is not sup­port­ing the rival meas­ure.

What We're Following See More »
TRUMP CONTINUES TO LAWYER UP
Kasowitz Out, John Dowd In
2 days ago
THE LATEST

As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."

Source:
ALSO INQUIRES ABOUT PARDON POWER
Trump Looking to Discredit Mueller
2 days ago
THE LATEST

President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.

Source:
INCLUDES NY PROBE INTO MANAFORT
Why Yes, Mueller Is Looking into Trump Businesses
2 days ago
THE LATEST

In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."

Source:
Mueller Expands Probe to Trump Business Transactions
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."

Source:
ANALYSIS FROM CBO
32 Million More Uninsured by 2026 if Obamacare Repealed
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login