Last week, Gillibrand and Hawley introduced the Professionalizing the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Act, a bill that seeks to improve training and resources for the military’s sexual assault response coordinators after a Fort Hood Independent Review found that many members of the coordination team lack the training to help victims of assault. It tasks the Department of Defense with evaluating options to establish Sexual Assault Response Coordinator military operational specialty (MOS) and reporting its findings to Congress.
“This legislation would aid the Department of Defense in identifying next steps to professionalize the role of Sexual Assault Response Coordinator throughout all branches of the military,” Hawley said in a statement on the bill.
“To combat the epidemic of sexual assault in our military we must professionalize every part of the military justice system, including Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARCs),” Gillibrand added. “SARCs are an essential part of the front lines of combating military sexual assault and Congress has a duty to ensure SARCs have the training, resources, and independence to support our men and women in uniform.”
Sens. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.; Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa are also involved in the bill.
However, on Sunday’s installment of “State of the Union,” Tapper seemed irked by Gillibrand’s effort to work across the aisle with the Missouri Republican.
“Senator Hawley, as I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, he was one of the main instigators of what happened on January 6th,” Tapper told Gillibrand. “If he hadn’t said that he was going to join the House Republicans in objecting, it’s possible that riot might not have happened. That’s certainly what a lot of Republican Senators think.”
The CNN anchor then played a clip from a radio interview Gillibrand did back in January where she suggested Congress should “look at” censuring GOP lawmakers like Hawley who supported challenging the certification of President Biden’s election victory.
“I understand your job is to work across the aisle and accomplish things for the American people, but do you have any misgivings about working with Josh Hawley?” Tapper asked.
“No,” Gillibrand firmly responded, “But I do believe that the purpose of this January 6th commission was to give us the facts about whether we should have proceeded towards-“
“He voted against it,” Tapper interrupted.
“I know,” Gillibrand replied, “But again, back to the first question, I don’t think that the Republican Party is acting in good faith to govern to bring forward what the American people want done… I believe my responsibility is to serve the American people and to help the people of New York… But I will work with Josh Hawley, I will work with any Republican if we are moving forward towards something that helps New Yorkers and helps the American people. And it’s my responsibility to work with everybody and I have done that my entire 11 years in the Senate.”
Fox News’ Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.