Gillibrand Anticipates Filibuster Threat Over Military Sexual-Assault Amendment

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) (2nd L) speaks as Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) (R) and military sexual assault victim Ariana Klay (L), a former Marine officer assigned to the prestigious Marine Barracks Washington and subsequently served in Iraq, listen during a news conference November 6, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
National Journal
Stacy Kaper
See more stories about...
Stacy Kaper
Nov. 6, 2013, 10:33 a.m.

It’s not every day that con­ser­vat­ive Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., stand shoulder to shoulder with lib­er­als Sens. Bar­bara Box­er, D-Cal­if., and Richard Blu­menth­al, D-Conn. But they did Wed­nes­day, ral­ly­ing be­hind an ef­fort from Sen. Kirsten Gil­librand, D-N.Y., to com­bat mil­it­ary sexu­al as­saults by tak­ing the de­cision of wheth­er to pro­sec­ute out of the chain of com­mand.

Gil­librand says she has been prom­ised she will get a vote on her bill in the form of an amend­ment to the de­fense-au­thor­iz­a­tion bill, which could hit the Sen­ate floor as soon as next week.

But suc­ceed­ing is seen as un­likely. The Pentagon and Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee lead­ers adam­antly op­pose the re­form. Gil­librand is ask­ing to only have to meet a simple ma­jor­ity of 51 votes, ar­guing her amend­ment is ger­mane, but she ex­pects that one of her op­pon­ents — likely Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, R-S.C. — would threaten to fili­buster, for­cing a 60-vote re­quire­ment for pas­sage.

“I think Lind­sey Gra­ham said he would do any­thing to de­feat this amend­ment. I sus­pect he would feel com­fort­able do­ing it. I also think [Sen. James] In­hofe would,” Gil­librand said, after hold­ing a press con­fer­ence to high­light the is­sue.

Gil­librand said she is lob­by­ing un­de­cided mem­bers, try­ing to get op­pon­ents to change their mind, and ask­ing her sup­port­ers to also reach out to col­leagues one on one. “We have a lot of un­de­cided mem­bers, and we have a lot of un­de­cided mem­bers who are lean­ing with us. So al­though we have 46 stated sup­port­ers, I think we will have many, many more,” she said. “We will try to meet the chal­lenge of either 51 or 60, and I’m con­fid­ent we will.”

For his part, Paul said he was tar­get­ing a group of key Re­pub­lic­ans to try to bring on board. “We need a few more Re­pub­lic­ans. I’ve got a list of Re­pub­lic­ans I’m talk­ing to,” Paul said. “We need prob­ably eight more Re­pub­lic­ans and a few more Demo­crats. But I think there is a lot of mo­mentum.”

What We're Following See More »
More People Watched Trump’s Acceptance Speech
1 days ago

Hillary Clinton hopes that television ratings for the candidates' acceptance speeches at their respective conventions aren't foreshadowing of similar results at the polls in November. Preliminary results from the networks and cable channels show that 34.9 million people tuned in for Donald Trump's acceptance speech while 33.3 million watched Clinton accept the Democratic nomination. However, it is still possible that the numbers are closer than these ratings suggest: the numbers don't include ratings from PBS or CSPAN, which tend to attract more Democratic viewers.