Player of the Week: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

This is an important week for Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax hit by earlier hack | What to know about Kaspersky controversy | Officials review EU-US privacy pact Senate passes 0B defense bill MORE (D-N.Y.) and her legislative effort to reduce sexual assault in the military.

Since unveiling her bill in May, Gillibrand has been building up support for her legislation that would remove sexual assault cases from the military chain of command.

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She has attracted 47 backers in the Senate, but that’s not enough to pass the upper chamber.

For Gillibrand, a former House member who has indicated an interest in running for the White House, combating sexual assaults has become her signature issue.

But she is pitted against powerful lawmakers, including Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl LevinCarl LevinPresident Trump, listen to candidate Trump and keep Volcker Rule Republicans can learn from John McCain’s heroism Trump and GOP wise to keep tax reform and infrastructure separate MORE (D-Mich.).

Levin and other senators say Gillibrand’s legislation could make it worse for victims and would torpedo the Pentagon’s system of justice.

The Pentagon opposes the Gillibrand measure.

Trying to round up more votes, Gillibrand last week suggested she was considering changing her bill, but supporters balked and Gillibrand backtracked.

In an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” she said, “We’re going to stick to the original plan because it’s a better bill.”

A competing plan is being spearheaded by Levin and Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillGOP sees fresh opening with Dems’ single payer embrace Senators blast internet subsidy program It is time to make domestic terrorism a federal crime MORE (D-Mo.). In recent days, the debate has intensified amid dueling press conferences.

A bipartisan agreement to merge the Gillibrand and McCaskill bills, which had seemed possible earlier this year, now seems unlikely.

The competing pieces of legislation could be debated this week as part of the Senate’s debate on the defense authorization bill. That has caused a headache for Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThe Memo: Trump pulls off a stone-cold stunner The Memo: Ending DACA a risky move for Trump Manchin pressed from both sides in reelection fight MORE (D-Nev.), who has to decide how to handle the intraparty fight.

Reid usually defers to his committee chairmen. Gillibrand has waged an impressive battle, but she doesn’t appear to have the votes to trump Levin.