Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill is pushing for the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act in Congress.
The Senate approved the measure this week and now itâ??s up to a Republican majority in the House of Representatives.
McCaskill said that without this federal program, too many women and children in Missouri and across the United States would not be able to fight domestic abuse.
With Boone County Prosecutor Dan Knight and others who work with victims of domestic violence at her side, McCaskill publicly asked Congress to renew the Violence Against Women Act. McCaskill fears the federal program will go down in defeat instead of helping women and families.
"I am determined to keep pressure on this issue," she said. "We have to make sure that the elected representatives in the House of Representatives know that this is not just a priority for the senate. Itâ??s a priority for the women that live in Boone County.â??
True North is an emergency shelter for victims of violence in Boone County. Shelter administrators said the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act is crucial for their operations.
True North Executive Director Barbara Hodges said, â??I would have to cut some staff. I would have to cut some programming. That would be devastating for those individuals that come to us for services.â??
McCaskill said sheâ??s not in favor of passing a water-downed version of the bill. She said programs for women are in danger of having to shut down if the bill is not passed.
More than $6 million a year in federal funding that comes to Missouri is at stake with this legislation.
Senator Roy Blunt was one of 22 senators on Tuesday who voted against reauthorization of the Violence Against Woman Act.
He then released the following statement: "I strongly believe we must protect victims of domestic abuse and violence, which is why I voted for Senator Grassleyâ??s VAWA reauthorization bill. Senator Grassleyâ??s legislation was rightly focused on the core purpose of the VAWA reauthorization, which is to protect victims of violence. Unfortunately, the bill the Senate considered today has been politicized and includes elements that are irrelevant to the core purposes of VAWA, including an unconstitutional provision related to tribal courts.â??
Columbia Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler said the House did pass a version of the Violence Against Women Act during the last session of Congress.
In fact, Congresswoman Hartzler was a co-sponsor of the bill.
Hartzler said, unfortunately, this important piece of legislation did not pass the Senate and the House intends to pass a Violence Against Women Act again during this session of Congress.