Senator Anticipates Filibuster Threat Over Military Sexual Assault Amendment

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is trying to combat military sexual assaults by taking the decision of whether to prosecute out of the chain of command. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is trying to combat military sexual assaults by taking the decision of whether to prosecute out of the chain of command. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP file photo

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."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.