Iowa Senator Ernst introduces new VAWA bill

National News

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KCAU) – Iowa Senator Joni Ernst is an outspoken supporter of domestic violence survivors, but some lawmakers say the Senator’s holding up a bill that would help those survivors.

“I speak to this body not just as a senator,” said Senator Ernst.

Iowa Republican Joni Ernst says for her, the Violence Against Women Act is personal.

“But I speak to this body as a survivor of rape,” said Ernst.

Ernst says as a victim of domestic violence, she relied on VAWA for help.

“I appreciate the assistance that was given to me, by folks that were funded by this piece of legislation,” said Ernst.

But when VAWA expired in February, and the House passed the bill’s reauthorization, Ernst stood on the Senate floor to oppose it.

“It won’t pass the senate. It won’t get the President’s signature. And most importantly it won’t actually help the survivors that need it,” said Ernst.

That’s why she’s introduced an entirely new bill.

The biggest difference between the two bills is Ernst’s bill removes a provision that would keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and she says her bill would provide more funding for victims for twice as long.

California Democrat Dianne Feinstein admits the House bill isn’t perfect.

“But in the interest of time, and because there had been a substantial period of time, I just decided to introduce it,” said Senator Feinstein.

Texas Republican John Cornyn says that doesn’t mean the Senate should rush it.

“We don’t have to settle for the House bill. We can do better,” said Senator Cornyn.

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