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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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."