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Ernst Calls Out Democrats on Senate Floor for Putting Politics Before Sexual Assault and Domestic Abuse Survivors

Ernst says that Democrats, after months of working closely with her on a bipartisan reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), abruptly halted their discussions because of election year politics

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a survivor and an outspoken leader on the issue of combatting domestic violence and sexual assault, took to the Senate floor today to call out her Democratic colleagues for abruptly halting their bipartisan negotiations over a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) after months of good-faith work and progress. The senator said the talks came to an end because “Democrats cannot afford to be seen as giving Republicans a win.”

Click here or the image above for Senator Ernst’s remarks.

Senator Ernst’s remarks are below:

“One of my top priorities has been to reauthorize and modernize the Violence Against Women Act.

“A survivor myself, I recognize that VAWA provides the right resources to tackle head-on domestic violence and sexual abuse in our communities – in Iowa and throughout the United States.

“My good friend and colleague, Dianne Feinstein, Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee, agreed to work with me on this important topic. 

“For months, Senator Feinstein and I, and our staffs, have worked closely and in good faith with one another with this shared goal in mind. We’ve met numerous times, held discussions, and negotiated in a way that has produced real progress.

“But, just this week, after months of work and mountains of effort toward a bipartisan bill, it all came to a screeching halt.  

“Once again, the Democrats are putting politics ahead of people – and have decided to move forward on the House-passed VAWA bill. The House bill is a non-starter and is chalk full of partisan political talking points that take us further away from, rather than closer to, a bill we can get over the finish line.

“Mr. President—I’m all too aware of how this town works. Election year politics are in full swing. And the grim reality is Democrats cannot afford to be seen giving Republicans a win.  The far left agenda of the House has hijacked the process.    

“It sounds petty. And it sounds unbelievable. But, folks, that’s the reality.

“You would think that supporting survivors and preventing abuse would be placed ahead of petty politics. 

“I want to be clear: I remain hopeful that we can continue to work in a bipartisan way and get this law reauthorized.

“Soon, I plan to respond with a good faith proposal of my own. This bill will support survivors and hold abusers accountable. It’s also a bill that I believe can pass the Senate and get the President’s signature. I invite my colleagues across the aisle to join me in this very, very, important effort.

“Thank you, Mr. President.”