Joni Ernst needs to act on the Violence Against Women Act

Lesli Nesmith found that Senator Joni Ernst has little to show for repeated promises to move forward on one of her stated priorities: reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. -promoted by Laura Belin

Congress enacted the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994 as part of a large crime bill. The law created a system to provide support and programs for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, as well as a framework of legal enforcement against perpetrators.

In the ensuing 25 years, VAWA has been strengthened and expanded, as policy-makers recognized gaps in the law and changing societal needs. Sadly, this legislation fell victim to the budget battles of late 2018 and lapsed without reauthorization by Congress in December.

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Iowa's senators must act on climate change

Action alert from Tyler Granger of the National Wildlife Federation. -promoted by Laura Belin

Despite flooding that devastated the state of Iowa this Spring, our junior U.S. Senator Joni Ernst continues to ignore the climate crisis and to support President Donald Trump’s toxic agenda, which is harming Iowa’s health and economy.

At a recent town hall in Denison, Ernst heard from a Manning constituent, Peter Leo, about the need to act on the climate crisis. Instead of finding common ground, Ernst made the concern a laughing matter and suggested that combating climate change would “crater our economy.”

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Where are they now? Matt Whitaker edition

Matt Whitaker will become a managing director for the Kansas City-based Clout Public Affairs consulting firm, Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg News was first to report on August 1. Whitaker served as chief of staff for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for a little more than a year before President Donald Trump named him acting attorney general in November 2018, flouting a federal law and a constitutional requirement that anyone holding that position be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Whitaker stepped down as acting attorney general in February, after the Senate confirmed William Barr. He was “counselor in the associate attorney general’s office” for just a few weeks before leaving the Justice Department in early March. Jacobs tweeted on August 1, “There was speculation Trump would appoint Whitaker to another admin job, but the president so far hasn’t made any moves to do so, I’m told.”

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Eleven times Chuck Grassley or Joni Ernst opposed reasonable gun limits

Two more horrific gun crimes devastated American cities this weekend. Hours after an attacker fueled by anti-immigrant hate killed 20 and wounded dozens at a shopping center in El Paso, Texas, a shooter using a high-capacity magazine in Dayton, Ohio killed nine people and injured 26 in less than a minute. Last weekend, a famous annual garlic festival in California joined the long list of venues where shooters have killed many people in minutes.

While no one law would would end all mass shootings in the United States, a few gun violence prevention policies could reduce the carnage that is almost unknown in countries with stricter limits on firearms ownership or access.

Iowa’s U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst have consistently opposed those policies.

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IA-04: Joni Ernst's neutrality hurts Randy Feenstra more than Steve King

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst made headlines in Iowa and national media this week when she told reporters on a conference call she “will not be endorsing anyone” for the Republican nomination in the fourth Congressional district.

Strictly speaking, her announcement wasn’t news. Within days of State Senator Randy Feenstra’s campaign launch in January, Ernst said she didn’t plan to endorse in the IA-04 primary, Bret Hayworth reported for the Sioux City Journal at the time.

Many commentators have viewed Ernst’s distancing as a political blow to King, whom she enthusiastically endorsed the first time he faced a GOP primary challenger. Similarly, Governor Kim Reynolds and Senator Chuck Grassley backed King in that 2016 race but have vowed to stay neutral before next June’s primary.

While King would surely welcome the backing of Republican heavyweights for what may be the toughest race of his career, Feenstra likely needs that boost more.

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