'This Week': Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., on health care battle and combating military sexual assault.
3:00 | 11/17/13

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Transcript for 'This Week': Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
problems. Now, new york democratic senator kirsten gillibrand join us now. I'm going to ask you the same question, can president obama regain the trust of american people? Of course, he can. Martha, what is this about, everyday people needing access to affordable health care. They don't want their coverage drop due to a pre-existing conditions. They want their kids covered up to 26. They want to have preventive care covered. Once we get over this implementation issue. They can fix this. It's a fixable problem. Once they fix it, people will see, I have an opportunity to cover my family. Martha, I was in the emergency room with my son who had an asthma attack. I looked in the eyes of all of the mothers in the emergency room. These are mothers who don't have health care, this may be their only access. But whose trust has been shattered. That's just an implementation issue. Once you get beyond it. You think we'll get beyond IT BY NOVEMBER 30th. We will. What they'll see is, emergency room is covered. I want to go back to this implementation. Did you feel misled by president obama? She should have been more specific. If you're offered by a terrible health care plan, that the minute you get sick, you go into bankruptcy. The whole point of the plan is to cover things that people need. How many women the minute they get pregnant might risk their coverage? How many women paid more of because their gender because they might get pregnant? But we're talking about leadership here and trust. What does this all say about president obama's leadership these past few weeks? He fell on his sword but he's missed that sword a couple of times. No one is more disappointed than the implementation issues than president obama. He has taken full responsibility for the mistakes and the lack of getting this system up and running when it was supposed to be up and running. But what this is about, martha, are those mothers in the emergency room. Who don't have access to affordable health care. I can't tell you how frightening it is when your kid can't breathe, it's a horrible moment. I looked at every mother. We have to fix health care in this country. So, when you talk about president's legacy, his legacy is going to be offering affordable health care to every family in this country. 39 democrats defected in the house, you heard jon karl mentioning in the house. 39 democrats. Yes. What does that tell you? They're just responding to the worries of their constituents. Because the implementation issues, there's a number of americans who got a notice from their insurance company, we're not covering you anymore. You know what that creates in a family? Enormous amount of stress. When you don't know how you're going to pay for your medicine and the whole point of the bill is, so you can get those inoculations. Get the medicines he or she needs. Got to work through it. They're worried. They're worried. I think it's not only normal but our job is to fix these problems, if they're trying to ally someone's concern, during this transit transitional period, where implementation has been rocky, we're going to ally your concerns republicans and democrats are trying to figure out how to settle that worry. Speaking of presidents, this is the front cover of "national journal." With that campaign logo that president obama had. Yeah. What is your reaction to that? I think it's a nice picture. I like it. What does it say? Any plans? No, no. I'm on the bandwagon for hillary clinton for 2016. You're not going to look beyond that? I have personally encouraged her. I think she will have the experience. She has the gravitas. What she has done as secretary of state is incredible. Senator, I want to turn to another issue that you have been very involved in and that is changing the way that the military investigates sexual assault, it's a debate that pitted you against members of your own party. The debate is heading to the senate floor. Let's talk about that in just a moment. But first, here's abc's jeff zeleny. Reporter: Arianna clay, marine officer, iraq war veteran, and victim of sexual assault. When I reported assault, my command respond with retaliation. It was worst than the assault. Because it was sanctioned from the same leaders that I would have once risked my life for. Reporter: The shocking numbers of these cases has placed it at center stage. Confronted by two democratic senators, both women. But with different proposals to reform the military justice system. On one side, senator kirsten gillibrand, to take the cases outside the chain of command. Too often, these brave men and women are in the fight of their life. It's not off on some foreign soil. It's right within their own ranks. Reporter: On the other side SENATOR claire McCaskill. Adamant commanders stay involved. I believe these reforms will hold the chain of command more accountable and force them to be part of the solution. Reporter: And the pentagon FAVORS the McCaskill plan. It's an uphill battle for gillibrand, still short of the 60 votes she needs. For "this week," jeff zeleny, abc news, capitol hill. Back now with senator gillibrand. You heard in jeff zeleny's report, you're shy of those 60 votes. I think we'll get them, martha, this is a growing debate all around this country because we want to make sure that the men and women who serve our military have a justice system deserving of their sacrifices. They're literally giving their lives for our values and our country. They need justice and that's what we're trying to do. One of the things that you told your hometown paper, i think it was in today's paper, was that you would consider taking parts of the legislation out for other serious crimes, murder and theft, are you going to do that or are you going to stick to the original plan? No, we're going to stick to the original plan because it's a better bill. It's an interesting pros is. What we learned is, having the bright line of elevating of all serious crimes out of chain of command, makes both victims' rights are protected. For civil liberties reasons. You need fairness and justice. What we got 26,000 cases of sexual assault -- and rape last year alone. Only 3,000 reported. You yourself said those 26,000, you don't know whether they're the difference between patting someone on the bottom or rape, so, if you have those kind of statistics, but you don't know what the data is, how can you make recommendations? We know the data. This is from the department of defense. This is their estimate. Not my estimate. As you yourself. Agreed. Martha, what we do know, the 3,000 cases that were reported 70% were violent. Violent rapes and sexual assaults. And even more disturbing of those 3,000 cases that were reported 62% of the victims were retaliated against. What we have is a system where it's broken, that, if you're rape you'll likely be retaliated against for that reporting of that rape. Listen to what senator john McCAIN SAID THIS WEEK. I'm the only member of the united states senate who was actually in command, okay? And I respect senator gillibrand's views and her advocacy, but I do not believe that she has background or experience. Do you have the background or experience? I do. I respect and admire senator McCAIN. Our job as senators and members of congress is the vital constitutional responsibility to provide oversight over the department of defense. It's our job. This is my job. Third, this is an epidemic that has grown to such proportions. There's zero tolerance for sexual assault in the military. Last year alone, we had 3,000 reported case of sexual assault. Let me finish. Martha, this is so important. I want to go to this, because the president of the united states has put a lot of attention on this, does he support what you're trying to do, does he support your amendment? I'm so hopeful that he will. Because this is an opportunity for him to show extraordinary leadership on this issue. But there's a growing chorus of generals, of veterans, iraq veterans, afghanistan veterans, all support this case and there's a panel, a commission that actually advises on women, to support every aspect of this. Of those ten votes, 9 out of 10 are all former military and four are generals. Still a long line of generals who don't support it. Those are in the chain of command generals. We have former generals who support this. Three-star general. Thanks very much for joining us, senator gillibrand.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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