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McCaskill Visits Columbia

Missouri senator Claire McCaskill stopped in Columbia Friday to push for the extension of the Violence Against Women Act. The legislation, originally passed in 1994, gives female assault victims housing, and counseling, and trains law enforcement to identify domestic violence and deal with it.McCaskill quickly blamed House republicans as the reason why the bill has not been extended.She says some lawmakers have been pressuring Speaker John Boehner. McCaskill claims the bill has become partisan and not a priority among some D.C. lawmakers.Senator McCaskill says the Violence Against Women Act has helped thousands of women get help after suffering domestic violence. She claims the funding from this bill saves lives. But it only took about three minutes before she started blaming House republicans for not extending the legislation.”The Speaker doesn’t really respond to democratic United States senators; the Speaker appears to be captured by his caucus and they have a rule in the House called the majority of the majority,” McCaskill explains.Senator McCaskill never really answered our question if she has directly talked with Boehner about this bill, but prosecutors around the country say they need the funding. Just last year in Boone County 750 domestic violence cases were prosecuted.”70 percent of the salaries for the assistant prosecutors in my office are paid for with the V.A.W.A. fund, and 100 percent of the victim advocate salaries paid for with V.A.W.A. funding,” Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Knight says.We asked McCaskill if she was trying to gather up congresswomen to put pressure on Boehner to bring the bill up for debate. Again, she didn’t directly answer our question, instead, blamed republicans.”I think the problem lies within the Republican Caucus in the House and I think we’ve got to get some of the members of that caucus to decide that this needs to be a priority,” McCaskill says.Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler’s office sent ABC 17 News this response:”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. Unfortunately, this important piece of legislation did not pass the Senate. The House intends to pass a Violence Against Women Act again during this session of Congress.”

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