McCaskill Helps Block One Version of Military Sexual Assault Reform
March 7, 2014

KC Star:

The Senate on Thursday rejected legislation that would have stripped military commanders of the power to prosecute sexual assaults and other major crimes.

The bill, proposed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., had the support of 55 of the chamber’s 100 members, including 10 Republicans. But it was blocked by fellow Democrat Claire McCaskill of Missouri and other lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, who used procedural tactics to prevent an up-or-down vote on the measure.

The Senate instead moved unanimously toward approval of an alternative bill championed by McCaskill that would preserve commanders’ authority to convene courts-martial but give victims a formal say in whether their cases go before military or civilian courts. That version awaits final passage next week.

“I know this has been tough for everyone,” said McCaskill, a former prosecutor, as two hours of tense debate drew to a close Thursday. “But I stand here with years of experience of holding hands and crying with victims, knowing that what we have done is the right thing for victims and the right thing for our military.”

The hard-fought policy battle between two influential female senators came down to just a handful of votes, with Gillibrand’s bill falling five short of the necessary 60-vote threshold.

Although she lost this round to a technicality, Gillibrand demonstrated she has the support she needs to keep her vision for change alive, said Eugene R. Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School.

“It’s outrageous that a member of the same party would basically threaten a filibuster,” Fidell said of McCaskill.

“I think Senator Gillibrand has the high moral ground, and I believe she will have the high political ground before you know it,” he said. “In practical terms, this bill will live to fight another day.”

Gillibrand and her allies argued during debate Thursday that the only way to restore trust in the military justice system was to allow independent prosecutors _ not commanders _ to decide whether a case should go to trial.

“It is like being raped by your brother and having your father decide the case,” Gillibrand said. “That is the perception of the victims.”

More:http://www.kansascity.com/2014/03/06/v-print/4870630/senators-block-bill-to-remove.html

Sunday Talkers Include McCaskill on “Meet”, Discussing the Military
March 1, 2014

Politico:
“Meet the Press” on NBC

• Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), vice chairman, Senate Intelligence Committee

• Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)

• California Gov. Jerry Brown (D)

• Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D)

“Face the Nation” on CBS

• Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

• Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

“This Week” on ABC

• Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.)

• Ben Affleck, actor, activist

“Fox News Sunday” on Fox

• Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

• Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)

• Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), ranking member, House Budget Committee

• Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.)

• Former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.)

“State of the Union” on CNN

• Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)

• Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)

• Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.)

• Former White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton

• Former U.S. ambassador to Russia John Beyrle

“Political Capital” on Bloomberg TV

• Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.)

• Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chairman, House Joint Economic Committee

“Newsmakers” on C-SPAN

• Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee

“Al Punto” on Univision

• First lady Michelle Obama

• Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto

• Israeli Defense Forces spokesman Roni Kaplan

McCaskill Says Dems Don’t Need Obama To Win 2014 Races
February 12, 2014

KC Star:
You want some straight talk?

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill has some straight talk for you.

If she was up for re-election this year, she wouldn’t campaign alongside President Barack Obama, she said Tuesday morning.

Why? His poll numbers are lousy in Missouri. And they aren’t good in Arkansas, North Carolina and Louisiana where Democrats are seeking re-election this year.

“You know, probably not,”McCaskill said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when asked if she would campaign with Obama this year. “I’m trying to be really candid and honest on this show. You know, the president’s numbers are not strong in my state, or in Arkansas, or Louisiana, or North Carolina. He did not win those states when he ran for reelection in 2012.”

She insisted, though, that Democrats continue to have a good shot at retaining control of the Senate after this year’s mid-term elections.

“That doesn’t mean we can’t win. These candidates in those states are strong candidates,” McCaskill said. “They have been an independent voice for their states. They know how to stay on offense. … I think this issue of whether or not you have Obama come to your state is something you like to focus on in Washington that probably is not that important when you get out to these states.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/02/11/4814697/mccaskill-if-i-was-running-this.html#storylink=cpy

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McCaskill Meets With KC Chamber
February 1, 2014

KC Business Journal via John Combest:
Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill talked a out jobs and infrastructure in Kansas City Friday.
McCaskill, D-Mo., said the problem is especially grave in Missouri. She said recent announcements from the Missouri Department of Transportation that it cannot fund new projects is especially concerning. U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said the lack of infrastructure funding is a crisis that requires immediate resolution during an appearance at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce on Friday.
How that funding gap will be bridged is unclear. McCaskill said federal infrastructure funding is drying up and there needs to be a new program to replenish the nation’s infrastructure coffers.
She said she will support new legislation that would provide incentives for U.S. businesses with money overseas to repatriate that money in the form of infrastructure bonds.
McCaskill said that program could send more than $75 billion toward federal infrastructure programs. While saying the legislation will be high on her priority list this year, she did not say how soon a bill might be introduced.
McCaskill said she supports the streetcar program and thinks that Kansas City has a good case for seeking federal funds, since the metro area has lagged behind others in terms of federal assistance for public transportation projects. But she said that both the city and the federal government should be realistic about the availability of money to fund proposed streetcar expansions.
McCaskill declined to opine on the airport, saying that it’s an issue that Kansas City needs to decide itself.

McCaskill Gets Involved ‘Philomena’ Irish Adoption Issue
January 31, 2014

(AP) — Philomena Lee wistfully described losing her son to adoption and her search for him 50 years later, a quest depicted in the Oscar-nominated film starring award-winning actress Judi Dench.

Her experience is a powerful argument for Ireland to open the adoption records for thousands more mothers whose children ended up in U.S. cities such as St. Louis, Philadelphia, Boston and New York, Sen. Claire McCaskill said Thursday after a meeting with Lee.

The two women, joined by Lee’s daughter, Jane Libberton, spoke to reporters on Capitol Hill about the Philomena Project and its efforts to reconcile families. The movie has drawn attention to the adoptions, and so did Lee’s riveting story. She recounted some of it.

Lee was an unwed, pregnant teenager in 1952 when her Irish Catholic family sent her to the Sean Ross Abbey in Rosecrea, Ireland. She worked seven days a week but was allowed only an hour a day with her son, Anthony. After three years, the boy was sold for adoption to a St. Louis family.

Lee said she kept her secret for 50 years, then with the help of her daughter and BBC reporter Martin Sixsmith, they sought to find him.

Unbeknownst to Lee, her son was trying to find her too.

“They wouldn’t tell him anything at all,” she said Thursday. “They told him I had abandoned him at 2 weeks old.”

After several twists, Lee discovered the fate of her son, which is captured in the movie. “At least I found him,” she said.

McCaskill said Ireland could do more to help other mothers and children reunite and signaled that the Congress would press the issue, either through a resolution or during Senate confirmation hearings for the next American ambassador to Ireland.

“The Irish government has not been as aggressive on this front as we would like,” said McCaskill, who described her own blended family with adopted children. “They have not done what they need to do in terms of making this an easy process.”

She argued that they should pass legislation to open the adoption records and ensure that any measure is retroactive

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