WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — U.S. Senate Democrats and Republicans say they’ve reached an agreement to advance the Violence Against Women Act.
“I believe we must provide better resources for survivors in their own communities,” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said.
Passed in 1994, the act was consistently renewed until it expired in 2018. Lawmakers like Ernst say it’s time to bring it back.
“For three years, I’ve been working diligently on modernizing and strengthening the Violence Against Women Act,” Ernst said.
Celebrity advocate Angelina Jolie voiced her support.
“This is one of the most important votes you will cast this year in the Senate,” Jolie said. “Most of all, I want to acknowledge the children who are terrified and suffering at this moment and the many people for whom this legislation comes too late.”
The legislation looks to strengthen rape prevention, provide support for legal services and improve how law enforcement investigates sexual violence.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) wants the rest of the lawmakers to join their effort.
“That would both deliver the critical assistance survivors across America need and achieve the necessary bipartisan support and pass the Senate,” Durbin said.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) supports the bill and says it’s a long time coming.
“It’s common sense bipartisan and a priority for everybody, so it’s the kind of bill that I think can pass the senate right now and I hope we get a vote on it soon,” Gillibrand said.
Gillibrand believes there shouldn’t be a reason for any lawmakers to oppose it.