Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) have championed sweeping reforms on how the military addresses sexual assault, but to date, they’ve run into a series of legislative roadblocks. But they’re not done and the next phase of their efforts is poised to begin anew in the Senate, perhaps as early as next week.
Roll Call reports that some GOP senators are willing to consider moving on the Gillibrand/McCaskill reforms, but they’re looking for something in return.
Senate Republicans are objecting to a set of votes on addressing the issue of sexual assault in the military without a vote on imposing stiffer sanctions against Iran.Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., offered a proposal that would have set up competing votes on limiting debate on two proposals that would change the way the military handles prosecutions of alleged incidents of sexual assault in the armed forces, a floor debate that wasn’t held as part of the Senate’s consideration of the current fiscal year’s defense policy legislation. […]Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., offered a counterproposal that would have added a vote, with a similar supermajority threshold, on providing for additional sanctions against Iran proposed by Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill.
Or put another way, Republicans realize the Democratic majority is set to move on reforming the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and the GOP minority expects Iranian sanctions to be part of the process.
Because the vote itself could derail delicate international diplomatic efforts, it’s unlikely Senate Dems will go along, but it’s a reminder that Senate Republicans haven’t given up on their Iranian sanctions efforts.
As for Gillibrand, the New York senator told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes last week that she’s not giving up on her proposal.
Gillibrand said her proposal has the support of a majority of the Senate – but that the 54 senators in favor will need six more to join their ranks in order to defeat a filibuster.“If our opponents want to filibuster a bill, if they want to filibuster justice for these men and women who will give their lives for our country, that is their right to do. And we will meet that 60 vote threshold,” Gillibrand said, adding that the opposition already indicated they are going to require 60 votes for passage. “If they choose to use procedural blocks like a filibuster to make it more difficult to do this reform, that’s their choice.”