Senators strike bipartisan deal on domestic violence bill

The actress, Angelina Jolie, toward the end of her remarks, was visibly emotional, crying as she discussed the many individuals “for whom this legislation comes too late.”

 A bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced a proposal Wednesday to reauthorize the 1990s-era law that extends protections for victims of domestic and sexual violence after it lapsed in 2019 because of Republican opposition.

Sen. Dick Durbin announced a bill to renew the Violence Against Women Act alongside his Democratic and Republican colleagues who were also joined by domestic violence survivors and actor and advocate Angelina Jolie.

“For those who have given up hope on the United States Senate functioning, passing important laws, working together on a bipartisan basis, take a look behind me,” Durbin, D-Ill., said.

Jolie told lawmakers the stakes are high. “This is one of the most important votes you will cast this year in the Senate,” she said.

The last time the law was reauthorized was in 2013. Republicans have since blocked the legislation from passing in the Senate over a provision that would prohibit persons previously convicted of misdemeanor stalking from possessing firearms, which generated opposition from the National Rifle Association. That provision was excluded as part of the deal.

“I have full confidence that this is going to pass in the Senate,” Republican Senator Joni Ernst, a survivor of domestic violence, told reporters. “And I know that there were provisions that we didn’t get into the bill. And I have said all along that the point is not for it to be a political football to use as a tool during campaigns.”

She added that while Democrats are not happy without the inclusion of the provision to restrict firearms from potential abusers, what’s important now is to get something at least 60 senators can agree on “and then come back and keep working on the issues that we haven’t been able to solve yet.”

“I have full confidence that this is going to pass in the Senate,” Ernst, a survivor of domestic violence, told reporters. “And I know that there were provisions that we didn’t get into the bill. And I have said all along that the point is not for it to be a political football to use as a tool during campaigns.”

Source: AP

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