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.”
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Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz beat back a primary challenge by law professor Tim Canova on Tuesday. The Florida Democrat and deposed former Democratic National Committee chief led 57%-42% with more than 80% of the vote counted last night. Meanwhile, fellow Florida Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown became the fifth incumbent to lose during this election cycle. Brown, who was recently indicted for fraud, lost to former state Sen. Al Lawson.
Reports of Sen. John McCain's demise were greatly exaggerated. Seeking a sixth term, the Arizona Republican handily defeated upstart Kelli Ward. The Associated Press called the race around 8:30pm local time. Ward was in no mood to be conciliatory, saying, "After refusing to debate while running a slash and burn campaign devoid of actual ideas, I hope the senator can rest comfortably with his conscience as he continues to lecture others about civility. The Republican party cannot win as a national party if we keep nominating unprincipled career politicians whose only objective is perpetual re-election." McCain now faces U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in the Nov. 8 general election.
Donald Trump will meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto today. "Trump's meeting is at the invitation of Pena Nieto, who tweeted that he's planning to meet with other candidates as well." Few details were made public, but "Trump is scheduled to be on stage at 6 p.m. in Phoenix for a major immigration speech, so the meeting will be early in the day."
Today's Wall Street Journal takes a close look at In-Q-Tel Inc., the Virginia-based venture capital firm funded by the CIA. "Like the agency that founded it, the CIA-funded venture-capital firm operates largely in the shadows. In-Q-Tel officials regard the firm as independent, yet it has extremely close ties to the CIA and runs almost all investment decisions by the spy agency. The firm discloses little about how it picks companies to invest in, never says how much, and sometimes doesn’t reveal the investments at all."
Sen. Marco Rubio (R) and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) both cruised to victory in their respective party primaries in Florida on Tuesday, and will face off in a key Senate race this fall. With 89% reporting, Rubio was leading self-funding businessman (and Donald Trump supporter) Carlos Beruff 72%-19%, and Murphy led controversial Rep. Alan Grayson 59%-18%.