Kirsten Gillibrand

Gillibrand Donates Trump Contributions, Coy On 2020

When reporters asked U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, earlier this year about running for president, she said she was “ruling it out.” Her answer was less definitive Friday, when in Western New York she was faced with a question about whether she was reconsidering.

Instead, Gillibrand employed a tactic often used by the governor, also considered a possible 2020 contender, pivoting to next year’s election instead of the one three years away.

“I’m really focused on running for Senate in 2018 and so my hope and dream is to be elected here and so that’s what I’m hoping for,” she said.

The senator has been thrust back into the national spotlight, taking a leading role as an advocate for victims of sexual harassment and assault, as well as a critic of President Donald Trump. In return, the president tweeted earlier this week that Gillibrand used to beg him for campaign contributions and “would do anything for them.”

“I think it was intended to be a sexist smear, intended to silence me on something I care very deeply about and the truth is, the president’s not going to silence me or the women who have stood up against him or the millions of women who have been marching since inauguration and showing up at town halls and running for office to be heard on the things that they care most deeply about,” she said.

According to the Federal Elections Commission, Trump did donate to Gillibrand in 2010 and 2007. The senator said the campaign gave all of his donations this week to a not-for-profit that deals with sexual violence.

She was also part of a bipartisan group that yesterday unveiled new rules for reporting sexual harassment in Congress. Despite the recent publicity, Gillibrand said the movement is not about her.

“What my job is then is to provide accountability. We have to create the structure around this pervasiveness and begin to show accountability, transparency and offer justice,” she said.

Gillibrand Proposes New Rules For Sexual Harassment Reporting In Congress

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was among the group of Republicans and Democrats on Thursday to unveil a package changes to sexual harassment reporting in Congress.

The changes, which include an end to secret settlements involving members of Congress unless a victim requests they be kept private, comes amid a firestorm of allegations of sexual harassment leveled against powerful men across a variety of industries.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken announced this month he will leave office in the coming weeks after he was accused of groping and forcibly kissing multiple women. Democratic Rep. John Conyers resigned after it was revealed he settled a sexual harassment claim, while Republican Reps. Trent Franks has resigned and Blake Farenthold has said he will not seek re-election.

“Congress should never be above the law or play by their own set of rules,” Gillibrand said.

“We should treat every person who works here with respect and dignity, and that means creating a climate where there is accountability, fairness, respect, and access to justice if sexual harassment takes place. There are real costs to sexual harassment in the workplace. We now know that many people quit their jobs because of it, or miss out on promotions or raises, all of which can throw off the entire trajectory in their careers. We must ensure that Congress handles complaints to create an environment where staffers can come forward if something happens to them without having to fear that it will ruin their careers. This bipartisan legislation would bring us much closer to that goal.”

The legislation also extends protections to congressional interns and fellows. Members of Congress found personally liable for harassment or discrimination will be responsible for paying the cost of a settlement and it must be approved by the Senate or House Ethics Committee.

Everyone who works on Capitol Hill will also be required to take harassment and discrimination training, including lawmakers.

The changes come as Gillibrand called on Franken to resign from office and, days later, called on President Trump to do the same amid allegations he has harassed and assaulted women.

In New York, where sexual harassment cases involving state lawmakers have occurred over the years, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef has called for a revised, uniform policy for sexual harassment cases.

Gillibrand: Trump’s Response A ‘Sexist Smear’

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand pushed back against a tweet by President Donald Trump on Tuesday in which he suggested she would “do anything” for the political support of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The tweet from Trump was in response to Gillibrand’s call for the president to resign after women who accused him of sexual assault and harassment re-told their allegations on Monday.

“I think the president was using a sexist smear to try to silence my voice and silence the voice of the many survivors who came forward yesterday,” Gillibrand told reporters. “He’s not going to silence me and he’s not going to silence them.”

Gillibrand has pointedly distanced herself from former President Bill Clinton in recent weeks, saying that in this era of understanding sexual harassment, he would have had to resign.

Gillibrand denied her comments on the former president were spurred by political opportunism.

“This is not about any one president or any one person,” she said. “Sexual violence is a scourge, it’s across all industries.”

Gillibrand Says Franken Should Resign

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Wednesday called on fellow Democratic lawmaker Al Franken to resign, hours after another woman accused him of unwanted sexual advances.

“While Senator Franken is entitled to have the Ethics Committee conclude its review, I believe it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn’t acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve,” Gillibrand wrote in a Facebook post.

“In the wake of the election of President Trump, in just the last few months, our society is changing, and I encourage women and men to keep speaking up to continue this progress. At this moment, we need to speak hard truths or lose our chance to make lasting change.”

Gillibrand last week declined to call for Franken’s resignation, saying in a WCNY interview that the ethics investigation into the allegations should be played out and that whether he stays in office is up to him.

On Tuesday, Democratic Rep. John Conyers resigned from office amid accusations of sexual harassment among women who worked for Congress.

The latest woman to accuse Franken of misbehavior worked for Congress.

Gillibrand has repeatedly call the wave of accusations against powerful men in the media, politics and entertainment an important moment of reckoning.

Schumer, Gillibrand Urge FEMA To Quickly Add Monroe County To Disaster Declaration

When the White House officially declared a major federal disaster last month for communities affected by the flooding along the Lake Ontario shore this spring and summer, Monroe County was conspicuously left off the list. The county is appealing to the Federal Emergency Management Agency but Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, said it could take up to 90 days for FEMA to act.

Schumer and Gillibrand urged the agency Monday not to take that long. They said it’s vital because Monroe County suffered significant damages and costs continue to mount.

“Every day that passes, the burden on families and businesses in Monroe County trying to recover from the substantial flooding they suffered this year continues to grow,” Gillibrand said. “Now that the damage assessments have been revised to show that the damage meets FEMA’s threshold for assistance, there is no reason to hold back from providing the federal aid necessary to rebuild.”

Schumer said federal, state and local officials have been on the ground over the past couple of days tabulating damages. In the case of Monroe, he said it’s nearly $2.7 million.

“Simply put, the feds should not leave Monroe County out to dry. For months Monroe County residents and business owners were ravaged by high waters, the continued flooding caused them to close businesses, caused damage to homes and eroded shoreline protections,” Schumer said.

 In general, FEMA aid is on a cost-sharing basis with the federal government covering 75 percent of the eligible expenses. State and local governments and stakeholders are responsible for the remaining 25 percent.

Gillibrand Says It’s Up To Franken On Whether He Should Resign

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a radio interview Thursday said it’s up to Sen. Al Franken as to whether he should resign as he faces allegations of groping and unwanted sexual contact from a half-dozen women.

“It’s his decision,” Gillibrand said. “I was the first Democrat to call for the investigation. I think having that process is important.”

Her comments on WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom with Susan Arbetter came the same day as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders called on Democratic Rep. John Conyers to step down amid revelations he sexually harassed women who had worked in Congress.

Gillibrand in the interview touted her push to reform how sexual harassment allegations are handled in Congress, which she called a “horrible, opaque process” that protects the accused and is at the detriment of the victims.

She said Franken, as well as President Donald Trump, should go through the process of an investigation.

“I think his behavior is unacceptable on any level and is infuriating and disappointing for all of us to have to read about, to have to hear about,” she said.

“Minnesota voters will make their own choice and Al Franken will make his own choice. But I’m going to make sure that we have a process that he has to go through, that members of Congress have to go through and frankly there should be a process the president has to go through. It’s outrageous that there are a dozen allegations against President Trump and no process for him to have to go through.”

Gillibrand raised eyebrows earlier this month when she suggested former President Bill Clinton should have resigned after his affair with a White House intern. Clinton was ultimately impeached and acquitted.

The re-examination of Clinton’s scandal comes amid a flood of sexual harassment and abuse accusations that have ended the careers of powerful men in Hollywood and the media. So far, those in elected office have not face similar ramifications.

“Today people are willing to hold people accountable,” Gillibrand said. “Things have changed and my responsibility now is to create enough processes where there is accountability and responsibility.”

Gillibrand Calls On Senate To Pass The DREAM Act ASAP

A group of Democratic women in U.S. Senate are calling for the body to pass legislation to protect undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children, also known as Dreamers, before the December break. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, is among the 11 women who signed a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging action.

In September, the Trump Administration announced a six-month phase out of the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, originally created through an Executive Order from Barack Obama. At the same time, the President put the onus on Congress to take up legislation.

DACA expires on March 6 and nearly 800,000 recipients could be affected. Gillibrand said women DREAMERS and their families would be hit the hardest.

“Women make up 53 percent of DACA recipients. According to the largest survey of DACA recipients, about one-quarter are parents of American citizen children,”she wrote. “The futures of these mothers and their U.S. citizen children have been thrown into uncertainty. If Congress does not act to protect them, hundreds of thousands of women will lose their status and face deportation.”

According to the White House, Dreamers range in age from their mid-teens to their mid-thirties.  Many of them, Gillibrand pointed out, are parents who could be forced to leave their children.

She said DACA has allowed many immigrant women to secure jobs and educational opportunities and could struggle to provide for their families if the DREAM Act is not passed. Gillibrand said the program also protects victims of domestic violence and sexual assault from further exploitation, by eliminating the fear that reporting incidents could lead to immigration enforcement.

“There is absolutely no doubt that America will benefit from passage of the Dream Act, and too much is at stake not to act,” she wrote. “We urge you to bring this legislation to the Senate floor for consideration as soon as possible.”

Other senators who signed the letter include California Democrat Kamala Harris and Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren.

Gillibrand Pivots From Clinton Criticism

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand last week in an interview with The New York Times said President Bill Clinton’s resignation would have been an “appropriate response” after it was discovered he had an affair with a White House intern.

On Monday in Binghamton, Gillibrand said she wasn’t dwelling on the 90s era scandal, saying she was focused more on the present — combating sexual assault and harassment in the military, on college campuses, the media and in politics.

Gillibrand was responding to a question on her response to longtime Clinton aide Philippe Reines’s criticism of her comment to the Times, calling her a “hypocrite.”

“Bill Clinton did very important things for our country and I think his (Reines) comments are wrong,” Gillibrand said.

But Gillibrand said she would rather focus on present-day troubles that now include Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken and Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, as well as the allegations that surfaced against President Donald Trump last year.

“I’m very focused on what’s happening today. We have allegations against a sitting U.S. senator. We have a Senate candidate who has alleged to have been harassing high school students,” she said. “We have a president who’s been alleged to have harassed and assaulted a dozen women with President Trump.”

“So I’m trying to change what’s happening right now — that we are having a really important national conversation about how we can listen to survivors, hear their stories, create space for them to tell their stories and then to have processes for when we can get justice.”

She added, “That’s about us, speaking out, demanding more.”

Gillibrand’s response to the Times sent shockwaves through a Democratic Party last week and led to criticism from Clinton figures like Reines that she was seizing on a political opportunity as she is talked about as a presidential candidate in 2020. Republicans in New York also criticized Gillibrand, who has received help from the Clintons’ political operation in the past and worked in Bill Clinton’s administration.

Gillibrand’s comments made the news all the more eyebrow raising because she holds the seat Hillary Clinton vacated in 2009 to become secretary of state.

Gillibrand Praises #MeToo

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Friday in central New York praised victims of sexual harassment and abuse for coming forward, saying she hopes the movement will spur change.

“God bless them all, because it’s horrible to have to explain your story publicly,” she said.

Over the last several weeks, a flood of allegations leveled against powerful figures in Hollywood, the media and in government have surfaced. The initial spark began with accusations of assault and rape against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and, just this week, drew in U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore in Alabama and comedian Louie CK.

Gillibrand said more needs to be done, especially for the structures that allowed serial harassers to continue.

“All of these institutions have spent so much effort protecting the most powerful by undermining the rights of the most vulnerable by undermining those who have been attacked or harassed or assaulted,” she said.

“This kind of transparency is going to change things. We just have to keep pushing back in all forms, whether it’s the military, on a college campus or it’s your boss.

Gillibrand Says It’s ‘Unfathomable’ Congress Won’t Act On Gun Control

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand slammed Congress on Monday for not taking gun control legislation in the wake of another mass shooting, this time in Las Vegas.

The shooting in Las Vegas at a country music concert injured hundreds and left 58 people dead.

“Heartbreaking. It’s so outrageous that we have no willingness by Congress to do anything in the face of these horrific gun crimes — crimes that happen over and over again,” Gillibrand said. “Our hearts, our prayers go to the families that suffering. I’m really tired of Congress doing nothing.”

Gillibrand said there’s a need for overhauling the background checks system and to pass bills that curtail gun trafficking as well as a new ban on assault-style rifles.

“Those are the common sense things we should be doing and why we have to continue to look at the American people with no response is unfathomable,” she said.

As a moderate Democrat in the House representing an upstate district, Gillibrand was more centrist on gun control and at one point had an “A” rating from the NRA. She has since shifted to the left on the issue when she moved to the U.S. Senate.