The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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February 8, 2013

Congress: How they voted week ended Feb. 8



Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., criticized the Republicans' "rigid partisan view...that deficit reduction must be achieved by spending cuts alone, regardless of the consequences. Moving from one crisis to another and failing to meet our responsibilities, as Republicans have done time and time again, has hurt our economic growth."

Tom Price, R-Ga., said Schwartz was wrong to say Republicans "reject a balanced approach" because "in fact, all you've got to do is read our budget. There's a balanced approach (of) appropriate spending reductions, appropriate closure of loopholes in credits and reductions of the Tax Code to gain revenue in pro-growth policy so that we can balance the budget."

A yes vote backed the Democratic motion.

Voting yes: Walz, McCollum, Ellison, Peterson, Nolan

Voting no:   Kline, Paulsen, Bachmann 


VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT: The Senate on Feb. 4 voted, 85 for and eight against, to start debate on a bill (S 47) to renew the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) through fiscal 2016.

This bill adds protections for gays, lesbians and transsexuals and empowers tribal courts to issue protection orders and prosecute non-Indians who commit violence on reservations against Native Americans, among other changes.

Since enacted in 1994, the law has funneled billions of dollars in grants to state and local governments and non-profit organizations for a variety of programs aimed at preventing domestic and dating violence, stalking and sexual assaults and helping victims recover when those crimes occur.

Agencies such as the departments of Justice and Homeland Security and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention disburse the grants through laws such as the Victims of Child Abuse Act, the Higher Education Act and the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Michael Crapo, R-Idaho, said the bill "provides access to legal and social services for survivors. It provides training for law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, attorneys and advocates to address these crimes" and "provides shelter and resources for victims who have nowhere else to turn."

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