Senator Heitkamp announced this week that she had co-sponsored her first two bills in the United States Senate: the Farm Bill and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
“Both the Farm Bill and Violence Against Women Act are critically important to North Dakota. The Farm Bill is imperative to the economic security of North Dakota farmers, a five-year Farm Bill will provide the men and women in the agriculture industry the security and certainty they need in order to make long-term plans, secure funding, and protect against catastrophic loss. I have been an adamant supporter of a long-term Farm Bill and I am eager to work with my colleagues to see that its succeeds in Congress this time around,” said Senator Heitkamp.
“I was equally pleased to voice my support for the Violence Against Women Act. This bill is particularly important to Indian Country, where violence against Native women occurs at a much higher rate than against any other segment of women. All women, regardless of where they live, deserve physical and mental safety from abuse and all victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking deserve protection. This bill is long overdue; I urge swift passage of the Violence Against Women Act in both chambers of Congress and look forward to it being sent to the White House to be signed into law.”
An identical version of the just introduced Farm Bill, The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act (S.2340), cleared the Senate with overwhelming, bipartisan support on June 21, 2012. The bill reforms food and agriculture policy, consolidates programs and saves taxpayers more than $23 billion by making programs more cost-effective. The previous bill and the bipartisan way in which it was passed was praised by Members on both sides of the aisle.
The bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA Reauthorization), S. 47, significantly strengthens the ability of the Federal Government, the States, law enforcement, and service providers to combat domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. As with the previous reauthorizations of VAWA in 2000 and 2005, this bill responds to the realities and needs reported by those who work with victims every day to make VAWA work better for all victims. This bill is nearly identical to S.1925 from the 112th Congress, which passed out of the Senate with broad bipartisan support, but was never taken up in the House.
The passage of both a long-term Farm Bill and VAWA were named by Senator Heitkamp as top priorities upon being sworn into the Senate.