U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and 15 other, mostly female, members of Congress met with senior Obama administration advisers Thursday at the White House to discuss the rise in sexual assaults within the country's military ranks.
Klobuchar et al. met with Valerie Jarrett, one of President Obama's senior advisers, and Tina Tchen, the first lady Michelle Obama's chief of staff, two days after the Pentagon reported a 35 percent rise in the number of military members victimized by sexual assault and related crimes from 2010 to 2012.
Klobuchar recently introduced legislation that would prohibit people previously convicted of sex-related crimes from serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, expand record-keeping to ensure storage of documents connected with sexual assaults and remove the requirement that the victim request that the records be kept.
U.S. Sen. Al Franken announced today that he raised $1.985 million in the first quarter of 2013 for his re-election campaign.
The strong fundraising quarter brings Franken's total cash on hand to $2.03 million, as Republicans continue to sort out who will challenge the first-term senator from Minnesota.
U.S. Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen of Minnesota, Minnesota investment banker Mike McFadden and talk radio host Jason Lewis have been mentioned as potential challengers to Franken.
Kline, who represents the state's Second Congressional District, raised $257,742 during the first quarter and has $750,000 total banked, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Paulsen, who represent the Thrid Congressional District, has yet to report his first quarter fundraising totals, but he finished the 2012 election cycle with about $694,000 in the bank.
Franken's fundraising totals do not include proceeds from a fundraiser that comedian and late night television Conan O'Brien hosted for him in California last weekend.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is in the midst of a four-day swing through Israel, Jordan and Turkey to meet with foreign leaders, assess U.S. aid programs and see the refugee crisis caused by Syria's civil war.
"The focus of the senator's visit is on national security and the conflict in Syria," said spokeswoman Brigit Helgen.
Klobuchar and several other senators were scheduled to meet with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jordan's King Abdullah II and Turkish business leaders. They will also tour a refugee camp in Jordan housing about 400,000 Syrians.
Democrat Kristen Gillibrand of New York and Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Hoeven of North Dakota are among the other senators on the trip. The delegation is expected to return Saturday.